(KNSI) – Minnesota’s unemployment rate decreased slightly from 4.7 percent in December 2020 to 4.5 percent in January 2021. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development says this decrease is due to both people gaining employment and people leaving the labor force.

The state did add 51,800 jobs in January, almost replacing the number of jobs lost during December. Those job gains were greatest in the leisure and hospitality sector. However, Minnesota hasn’t yet recovered all of its jobs lost from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. From February through April 2020, the state lost 416,300 jobs. Since then, it has regained 191,400 jobs — about 46 percent of what was lost.

“The recovery of over 51,000 jobs in January is a promising sign for Minnesota,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “We have a lot of work ahead to grow our economy, and as this report shows, we must focus on those hit hardest by the pandemic – people of color, people with disabilities, lower wage workers, and small businesses.”

That report from DEED does show that people of color continue to see deeper impacts on their employment during the pandemic. In January, 9.5 percent of Black Minnesotans and 7.3 percent of Latino Minnesotans were unemployed compared to 5.8 percent of white Minnesotans.

From January 2020 to January 2021, the Twin Cities saw the starkest change in employment among the state’s metro areas; it lost 177,999 jobs, bringing it employment down 8.8 percent. Employment in the St. Cloud metro area decreased 6.5 percent over the past year.

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