Twin Cities rank in top 10% of U.S. cities with biggest unemployment declines

The Twin Cities had the biggest decrease in unemployment from June 2019 to June 2022, WalletHub reported Aug. 3.

WalletHub analyzed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across 180 U.S. cities, comparing June 2022 unemployment in each city with May 2022, June 2021, June 2020 and June 2019 figures. along with overall unemployment rate.

While St. Paul’s change in unemployment rate from May to June (2.60%) this year was the fifth smallest among the top 180 U.S. cities (40.71% increase), the city’s unemployment rate has plummeted since prior years. It’s down 47.58% since June 2021. It’s decreased 79.54% since June 2020. June 2022 unemployment is also down 32.09% since June 2019.

Minneapolis had the fifth biggest decrease in unemployment from June 2020 to June 2022. It had the second biggest decrease from June 2019 to June 2022. Its current unemployment rate stands at 2.40%, up 39.65% from May. From June 2021 to June 2022, unemployment decreased 47.41%. It decreased 76.10% from June 2020 to June 2022. Unemployment declined 31.49% from June 2019 to June 2022.

All metrics considered, Minneapolis placed 14th and St. Paul placed 17th in terms of cities with the biggest changes in unemployment.

Utah Valley University business professor Jonathan Westover said he believes the economy won’t return to pre-pandemic levels because the economic trends that led up to the pandemic period and accelerated during the pandemic have propelled the U.S. into the future of work. The “new normal” will see more unfilled traditional employee positions and an increasing level of contingent and gig workers, he said. Workers can demand more money, benefits, perks and flexibility from employers, he said.

“Until organizations can catch up to the current demands of the label force, frustrations will remain high,” he said.

People who are unemployed should reskill and upskill, whether that’s through a traditional university degree, a professional certificate or free resources, Westover said.

Boston University Department of Economics lecturer Geoffrey Carliner said the unemployment rate will almost certainly increase in the next six months to a year. Inflation was a serious problem even before Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, he said.

“With oil prices now spiking even higher, because of the war in Ukraine, and inflation rising further, interest rates are going to rise more and faster than the Fed was planning before the invasion,” Carliner said. “This is likely to decrease housing construction and other forms of investment, lower economic growth, and increase the unemployment rate.”

Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss said it’s states’ labor participation rates that tend to be below pre-COVID-19 levels. Participation rates are lower because baby boomers haven’t come back to the labor market and parents can’t find adequate child care. Others are concerned about COVID-19 infection, he said.

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