Minnesota’s Job Vacancy Report shows a tight labor market in a recession

Minnesota employers reported just over 127,300 job vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2020, up 14% from the second quarter of 2020 at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and nearly equal to the number of vacancies posted in the state one year earlier, according to figures released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

After loosening up last summer when unemployment rates spiked, DEED’s biannual Job Vacancy Survey found that the state had 1.1 unemployed people for every job vacancy in the fourth quarter of 2020, once again indicating a tight labor market. In comparison, the state had 0.7 unemployed workers for every job vacancy in the fourth quarter of 2019, so it was an even tighter job market then.

Part of the reason for the quick return to a tight labor market is that some workers have dropped out of the labor force over the past year.

“These job vacancy numbers show us there’s a lot of opportunity in Minnesota right now,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “At DEED, we are continuing extensive outreach to unemployed Minnesotans to let them know about opportunities for in-demand jobs with local employers who are hiring now.”

The seven-county Twin Cities metro area had just over 75,725 job vacancies (59.5% of the statewide total), while Greater Minnesota had 51,585 vacancies. Job vacancies in the Twin Cities were up 15% compared to second quarter, while job vacancies in Greater Minnesota were up 12.4% since the second quarter. The Twin Cities had 0.9 unemployed people to every vacancy, while Greater Minnesota had 1.3 job seekers per vacancy.

Like in past surveys, the Health Care and Social Assistance industry had the most job vacancies overall with nearly 31,600 openings, but with increased demand, they now account for nearly 25% of total vacancies.

Retail Trade showed steady demand, accounting for 17% of vacancies. Job postings jumped above 13,000 in Wholesale Trade and were up to almost 11,000 in Manufacturing, but fell below 13,000 in Accommodation and Food Services, with each providing around 10% of total vacancies.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University.


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