Mining Jobs Grow in December While Hospitality Jobs Plummet

Leisure and hospitality jobs plummeted in December of 2020 as Governors tightened economic restrictions nationwide, causing almost half a million layoffs at restaurants, bars, and hotels. Interestingly, the mining and logging sectors of the economy grew by 4,000 jobs during the month.

Three-quarters of those losses coming from restaurants and bars, according to Investopedia.

Hopefully, the dissemination of the COVID vaccine means that these shutdowns will eventually give way to normalcy, but the pandemic highlights the additional risk that leisure and hospitality-dependent areas face due to lockdowns and helps to explain why Northern Minnesotans want a strong economy that includes mining and tourism.

Mining jobs are high-paying jobs, especially compared to the average annual wages earned by hospitality workers. The graph below shows jobs in the mining industry pay 5.6 times more than leisure and hospitality workers in St. Louis County.

Not only are mining jobs high-paying jobs, but 40 percent of jobs in the industry only require a high school diploma. This gives northeastern Minnesotans an opportunity to get a family-supporting job without incurring thousands of dollars in student loan debts. It gives them a chance to buy a house and enjoy their part in the American Dream.

Minnesota is stronger when the mining industry and tourism industry thrive. Both of these industries are essential to the state’s economic vitality, and advocating for one industry at the expense of the other is playing politics with the lives of the people who live in the Iron Range.

Both the mining industry and tourism industry can be cyclical, but I am sure Rangers are happy to have the mines as the hospitality industry has suffered from the shutdowns.