Unemployment analysis tells a disturbing story

Barb Brady
Aug 15, 2013

On the surface, it appears that Minnesota is recovering quite well from the Great Recession. Figures released today show the state is adding jobs and the unemployment rate is well below the national level.

However, if you take a closer look, many Minnesotans are shut out of the recovery.

We just released a new analysis of unemployment rates from 2007 through the first three months of 2013 that found some disturbing disparities in Minnesota.

The analysis, Many Minnesotans Still Without Jobs in Economic Recovery, found that while Minnesota’s overall unemployment rate has gotten close to the rate at the start of the recession, some Minnesotans were hit especially hard during the recession and are still looking for work.

In Minnesota, the young, the less educated, single-adult households and people of color have the highest unemployment rates.

Our analysis examines unemployment for each group.

Graph Communities of color experience higher levels of unemployment

People of color were particularly hard hit in the recession. Unemployment for people of color jumped to more than three times the rate for white Minnesotans during the recession. Unemployment for people of color has since fallen, but remains 4.6 percentage points higher than for white Minnesotans.

The analysis concludes that Minnesota can take some steps to address these disparities, even though state policymakers have little influence over national economic trends. Investments made in the 2013 Legislative Session to make college more affordable are a good step, but there is more to do in order for the recovery to reach all Minnesotans.