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Jobs recovery slows, yet hiring picks up in Minnesota

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s jobs agency is trying to direct unemployed individuals to businesses that are having difficulty filling positions.

Each week, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is calling thousands of Minnesotans who are out of work to help them with their job search and point them to businesses that are ramping up hiring as more people get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The department’s commissioner, Steve Grove, emphasized the effort as new data shows the state’s jobs recovery slowed down in April.

The state gained 11,300 jobs last month, the fewest in any month so far this year. In March, Minnesota gained 20,400 jobs. The slowdown came even as hiring picked up, the Star Tribune reported.

“It’s kind of a weird moment in our economy,” Grove said. “We’re in a moment of transition, moving really from a pandemic economy to a new economy, and that’s going to take some time to happen. There’s going to be some friction along the way in this recovery. Even if everyone got vaccinated today, things wouldn’t just snap back into place instantly.”

About 244,000 Minnesotans are still receiving unemployment benefits, which is down more than half since the early months of the pandemic. As of April, the state has now recovered about 57% of the 416,000 jobs it lost last spring.