How Does Minnesota Unemployment Compare?

by Rachel Vilsack

Every month, the updated unemployment rate gives us a snapshot of how the Minnesota and regional labor markets are changing. This information is essential for tracking trends and comparing labor market conditions across the nation. However, we often want to know how certain populations within our state are faring. Instead of monthly statistics, we need to rely on annual estimates to assess differences in unemployment rates by gender, educational attainment, race, ethnicity, and more. With the release of the Geographic Profile of Employment and Unemployment report in September, we finally get a look at how Minnesota compares in 2011.


In 2011, Minnesota’s unemployment rate averaged 6.5 percent, tied for ninth (with Virginia) in the nation and fifth among the 12 states in the Midwest region.


Unemployment rates for Minnesota women were one percentage point lower than the rate for men. Among states, Minnesota ranks 10th lowest unemployment rate of women. Unemployment rates for women were lower than average in all states, except Oklahoma, Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Georgia, District of Columbia.



Unemployment rates for teens (age 16 to 19) averaged 19.1 percent in 2011. Across states, teen unemployment rates ranged from 12.4 percent in Nebraska to 46.7 percent in the District of Columbia.


There is a stark difference in Minnesota unemployment rates by race and ethnicity. For states with reportable rates for Black or African American residents, Minnesota ranks near the bottom, with an average unemployment rate of 20.7 percent in 2011. Asian unemployment rates averaged 9.2 percent and Hispanic or Latino unemployment rates were 8.6 percent in 2011.


Basic labor force statistics are also available for married men (spouse present), married women (spouse present) and for women who maintain families. In 2011, the unemployment rate for married men and married women were lower than average, at 4.2 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively.  The unemployment rate for Minnesota women who maintain families was 12.1 percent, nearly twice the average.


Interested in reading seeing more comparisons of Minnesota’s unemployment rate? Read the full article featured in the October 2012 issue of Minnesota Employment Review. 


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