ST. PAUL — Minnesota's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.4% in November, according to figures released Thursday, Dec. 17, from the State Department of Employment and Economic Development, down two tenths of a percentage point from October.

November did mark the first month since April that Minnesota lost more jobs than it gained, however, even as the state's labor force participation rate did rise by a half-percentage point to 67.9%. That rate, which reflects the percentage of working-age Minnesotans who are either employed or actively looking for work, had declined in both September and October.

On a media call Thursday, Dec. 17, DEED Interim Director of Labor Market Information Oriane Casale said the change might partially be attributable to self-employed Minnesotans "coming back into the labor force."

Data for the job numbers released Thursday were collected prior to Nov. 21, when bars and restaurants were ordered to close for indoor service by Gov. Tim Walz amid a spike in COVID-19 infections. The data still reflect a loss of leisure and hospitality jobs, however, which were perhaps shed in anticipation of the closures.

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Leisure and hospitality, one of Minnesota's "super sectors," lost 10,400 jobs in November, down 5%. Other super sectors that posted job losses last month include: information; construction; manufacturing and trade, transportation and utilities.

The financial activities, professional and business services, education and health services super sectors gained jobs, however. All told, Minnesota lost 12,600 non-farm jobs in November, 2,300 of them in government, which erased all but 2,600 of the jobs it gained just one month earlier.

While the pandemic recession continues to disproportionally affect Minnesota's communities of color, the unemployment rate for Black and Latino Minnesotans did improve last month. The six-month average unemployment rate for Black Minnesotans fell to 11.1%, down four percentage points, and fell two percentage points to 9.6% for Latino Minnesotans fell 9.6%. White Minnesotans by comparison have a six-month average unemployment rate of 5.6% at the moment, down from 6.3% last month, though that is still higher than it was at this time last year.

While Minnesota's outlook has improved in the short term, its super sectors still continue to show over-the-year job losses. The same is true of the U.S. as a whole.

The national unemployment rate was down two tenths of a percentage point to 6.7% in November. National labor force participation, meanwhile, fell by that same amount to 61.5%