Minnesota’s job recovery picked up in March with the state adding back 21,600 jobs, putting the state at the highest job level seen so far during the pandemic.

That was an acceleration from the month before, when the state gained 13,900 jobs.

The largest additions in March were in construction, which added 7,900 jobs, professional and business services, which was up 5,500 jobs, and leisure and hospitality, which increased by 4,300 jobs.

Minnesota has now gained back about 54% of the jobs it lost in the first few months of the pandemic.

In addition, the state’s unemployment rate fell slightly in March to 4.2%, down from an upwardly revised 4.4% in February, according to data released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The decline in the jobless rate was due to both people finding jobs as well as some people leaving the labor force. In the latter category, it was primarily unemployed people who had stopped looking for work.

“It’s good to see Minnesota’s job growth reach its highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic, but we still have a long way to go,” DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said in a statement. “There are over 100,000 job postings in the state, and we need to make sure more Minnesotans are aware of these opportunities to get back into the labor force.”

Minnesota’s labor force participation rate dropped two-tenths of a percent to 67.8%, matching what it was in April 2020. It was 70.2% in February 2020, before the effects of the pandemic.

Other areas that saw decent job gains in March include trade, transportation and utilities, which was up 3,900 jobs and manufacturing, which added 1,900 jobs.

Those additions were offset by losses in government, which was down 1,700 jobs, financial activities, which lost 500 jobs, and information which declined by 400 jobs.

Minnesota continues to perform better than the nation as a whole, with the U.S. unemployment rate recently falling two-tenths to 6% and the U.S. labor force participation rate inching up to 61.5%.

However, people of color in Minnesota continue to be disproportionately affected by job losses. Based on 12-month moving averages, the unemployment rate for Black Minnesotas declined to 9%, from 9.2% the month before. That’s double what it was a year ago.

Meanwhile, the Latino unemployment rate ticked up to 7.7% in March, from 7.5% in February. The unemployment rate for white Minnesotans was unchanged at 5.9%, also based on the 12-month moving average.

Kavita Kumar • 612-673-4113 Twitter: @kavitakumar

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