Minnesota Unemployment Hits 9.9 Percent, Highest Its Ever Been

An empty restaurant in Brooklyn. (Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)
Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Minnesota’s unemployment rate hit 9.9 percent in May, reaching the highest point its ever been in the state, according to state data.

According to state data obtained by KMSP, 302,741 were unemployed in May, which is the most recent data available from the state.

The state’s jobless rate has skyrocketed since March because of the coronavirus pandemic. In March, the unemployment rate was 2,9 percent. In April, that rate shot up to 8.7 percent.

The 9.9 percent rate is the highest jobless rate the state has experienced since 1976, which is how far back the state’s records go.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) said that employment in the state is rebounding more slowly because of the slow and cautious approach state officials took in easing restrictions on businesses related to the coronavirus.

“The employment rebound will continue to vary greatly by sector,” DEED Commissioner Steve Grove told MPR News. “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.”

Gov. Tim Walz’s administration has slowly eased restrictions on many businesses to operate at a limited capacity as of this month, allowing some people to go back to work.

As of June 10, restaurants can open for indoor and outdoor dining, retail outlets can allow in-person shopping, and salons, barbershops, gyms, entertainment venues, and churches can also start to welcome people back with social distancing measures in place.

Nationwide, weekly jobless claims sank slightly to 1.51 million new claims, making it the thirteenth week where jobless claims had risen above 1 million.

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