Minnesota lost nearly 50,000 jobs in December with pandemic rules in place

Minnesota lost nearly 50,000 jobs in December as a spike in coronavirus cases prompted the state to place restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms and some other businesses.

The state Department of Employment and Economic Development reported Thursday that Minnesota's unemployment rate still inched downward in December, to 4.4 percent. That's down from 4.5 percent in November.

But state officials said that decline was due to people leaving the labor force.

Looking at the entire year, from December 2019 to December 2020, all sectors of the economy in Minnesota saw some level of job loss.

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The late-year job losses — 49,800 in December, following 15,500 in November — slowed Minnesota's recovery from last spring's economic slowdown.

Those two months wiped out job gains from August through October, according to the state department. Through December, the state had made up only about 36 percent of the nearly 388,000 jobs lost from last February through April, as the first round of pandemic restrictions went into effect.

More than 80 percent of the job losses in December were in the leisure and hospitality sector.

But the DEED reported that there are signs that many of December's job losses may be short-term. The agency said a survey of people who lost jobs in December found that just 10 percent said their job loss was permanent.

The national unemployment rate in December remained steady at 6.7 percent.