MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Over the course of 2020, the labor force in the Seven-County Metro Area shifted considerably. On an annual basis, the region's entire labor force shrank by 0.9% or 16,100 people.
However, the decrease in the workforce masks considerably more drastic employment and unemployment changes between 2019 and 2020. Overall employment in the region fell by 4.1% (69,100 people), while total unemployment increased by 105.0% (52,981 people).
The unemployment rate in the Metro Area grew from 2.9% in 2019 to 6.0% in 2020. In May 2020, the unemployment rate was 10.1% on a monthly basis, representing approximately 172,300 unemployed people. This was more than three times the number of unemployed people in the months leading up to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The workforce in the Metro Area has exhibited notable signs of revival as of April 2021. The region's workforce expanded by around 32,200 people between January and April 2021, indicating a rebound to labor force growth after swinging up and down in the early months of the pandemic and then dropping to close out the year.
This drop was due to a 39,500-person gain in employment and a 7,300-person decrease in unemployment, which indicates that people were returning to the labor force and finding work.
The unemployment rate in the Metro Area was 4.1% in April 2021, which amounted to almost 69,100 people, a significant decrease from the previous year.
While total job openings in the Metro Area reverted to normal levels in the fourth quarter of 2020, the number of vacancies by major occupational groupings changed significantly.
Vacancies in Personal Care and Service Occupations, as well as Food Preparation and Serving Occupations, were particularly low during that time.
Occupational groups such as Healthcare Support, Healthcare Practitioners, Sales & Related, and Transportation & Material Moving all had significant increases in vacancies during the year.
Computer & Mathematical; Sales & Related; Office & Administrative Support; Installation, Maintenance & Repair; and Production are among the occupational groups that saw significant job vacancy losses in the second quarter of 2020 followed by equally steep rises in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Health Care & Social Assistance (17,100 vacancies), Wholesale Trade (12,000 vacancies), Retail Trade (9,800 vacancies), Accommodation & Food Services (7,000 vacancies), Manufacturing (6,500 vacancies), and Professional & Technical Services (6,500 vacancies) were the industries with the most job vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2020 (6,400 vacancies).