ST. PAUL — The unemployment rate in Minnesota fell to 6% in September, according to seasonally adjusted figures released Thursday, Oct. 15, down from 7.4% in August.
Job growth continued amidst the coronavirus pandemic last month as well, albeit at a slower rate than in the months before, with the addition of approximately 14,800 payroll jobs. Still, the unemployment rate was well above the unadjusted 2.6% reported in September 2019.
For Minnesota and the U.S., major job sectors continued to show over-the-year losses. All but two "supersectors," a term that refers to everything from manufacturing to health services, showed modest monthly gains in Minnesota, however.
During an online news conference Thursday, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove said the dip in unemployment has much to do with a drop in Minnesota's labor force participation rate, The rate, which is a measure of working-age Minnesotans who are either employed or seeking employment, fell 1.3% to 68.4% in September.
"I think we're in this moment where there are a lot of folks who are unemployed based on the pandemic in industries that have been hard-hit, but they have kind of yet to search for jobs or really begin an earnest job search for other industries," Grove told reporters. "There's a lot of hesitancy in the market right now."
DEED is still trying to assess the prices labor force participation rate by demographic, Grove said, but it looks as though it decreased at the same rate for male and female workers. That differs from a national rate decline largely driven by women, he said, who are more likely to take on caregiving roles for children and elderly relatives.
Anecdotally, Grove said some employers report that job seekers are hesitant to accept new positions because they are holding out hope for re-employment offers. Some may be holding out for a vaccine for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, he said, or for additional government aid.
"There's a lot of hesitancy in the market right now," he said.
Nationally, the labor force participation rate stood at 61.4% in September while national unemployment rate fell to 7.9%.
Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to the wrong month. It has been corrected. We regret the error.