ST. PAUL — Minnesota's unemployment rate fell one tenth of a percentage point over the month in April, according to statistics released Thursday, May 20, as the state recorded four consecutive month of job gains.
With a 4.1% rate of unemployment, the state remains below the national rate of 6.1%, which grew by a tenth of a percentage point over the month in April. Minnesota reported a seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 9.1% in April of last year, by comparison, as the coronavirus pandemic took its toll.
The State Department of Employment and Economic Development attributed the dip to unemployed Minnesotans returning to work. In an online news conference Thursday, Commissioner Steve Grove again dismissed an idea gaining traction with some lawmakers but for which there no clear evidence: that enhanced unemployment benefits are deterring jobseekers.
"I think the issue is far more complex than that narrow concern would indicate," Grove told reporters. The lack of access some Minnesotans have to child care resources and transportation can be an inhibitor, he said, as can lingering concerns about COVID-19 exposure.
Others may not be able to find a job that pays as well or better than the one they lost, according to Grove. "There's value in... people picking the right way to reenter the economy," he said.
All told, Minnesota gained 11,300 jobs over the month in April, following over-the-month gains of 20,400 in March. More jobs were added in the state's professional and business services sector — about 4,800 — than in any other.
Over-the-month gains were recorded in seven of Minnesota's other "super sectors": government; leisure and hospitality; trade, transportation and utilities; construction; manufacturing; mining and logging; and other services. Three super sectors — education and health services; financial activities; and information — lost a combined 4,400 jobs, however.
Of the 416,300 jobs Minnesota lost between February and April of last year, it has so far recovered about 235,300, or 56.5%.