May unemployment at 9.9% while pandemic-related job losses stabilize slightly in MN

Closed and open booths.
Closed and open booths at Main Café in Stillwater.
Mark Zdechlik | MPR News

Minnesota's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate reached a record high in May according to state officials.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development says the state unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent in May. Nearly 303,000 Minnesotans were unemployed in the month, an increase of almost 35,000 from April.

Minnesota’s stay-at-home order was first issued in mid-March, requiring nonessential businesses to close. The state began gradually reopening in May. The unemployment figures reflect what was happening in Minnesota’s economy prior to the reopening of outdoor dining at restaurants, more retail businesses and offices.

The agency said there was some stabilization in job losses in May, and small steps toward recovery from job disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Minnesota’s leisure and hospitality industry saw a seasonally adjusted increase in May of 13,800 jobs, with the largest share, at 11,900 jobs, in food service. Retail, construction, personal services and health care also notched increases, DEED reported.

“Slight job increases this month are a positive sign, but the employment rebound will continue to vary greatly by sector,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “DEED is working with other state agencies, business and labor leaders and public health experts to get Minnesotans back to work as quickly and safely as possible.” 

DEED said employment in Minnesota appears to be rebounding more slowly than in other parts of the country because of the cautious approach state officials took in easing coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses.

The U.S. unemployment fell slightly to 13.3 percent in May.