ST PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reported the state's unemployment rate declined slightly in the month of December, down to 4.4% from November's revised rate of 4.5%.
"The tenth of a percentage point tick down was due to people leaving the labor force, at least temporarily," DEED officials said in a news release.
DEED reported the state of Minnesota lost 49,800 jobs in December, marking a second consecutive month of job losses in the state. The agency said 42,900 of the jobs lost in December were in the private sector.
DEED officials said December's employment numbers can be tied, in part, to the increase in COVID-19 cases in the state of Minnesota in late fall, particularly for areas like restaurants, bars, fitness centers and entertainment venues. DEED reported the leisure and hospitality industry saw a decline of 41,100 jobs in the month.
“Today’s employment data confirms what we’ve expected – the spike in cases in late fall had an impact on the economy,” DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said in a statement. “The predictable loss of jobs that accompanied the sacrifice that businesses and workers had to make may turn out to be temporary, as just 10% of those surveyed said their job loss was permanent.”
Nationally, unemployment claims declined slightly last week to 900,000, though that figure remains high historically due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.