ST. PAUL — Minnesota's unemployment rate rose to 9.9% in May, according to state Department of Employment and Economic Development figures released Thursday, June 18, an increase from the revised rate of 8.7% in April.

Signs of employment growth were observed in the public sector, which added 27,500 jobs in May, up 1.3% from April. But with the government losing about 17,700 jobs in May, the state saw a net gain of only 9,800 payroll jobs last month.

In a statement, DEED Commissioner Steve Grove called the slight job increase a positive sign but warned that coronavirus pandemic recovery will vary by sector.

"Our economy is facing an unprecedented challenge, which these numbers reflect," Grove said.

What those numbers don't reflect, however, is the May 18 expiration of the stay-at-home order meant to curb the spread of coronavirus. Gov. Tim Walz announced that businesses would reopen in stages after the order lapsed, with restaurants and bars — which suffered some of the worst job losses because of the pandemic — reopening June 1.

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Overall, Minnesota's unemployment rate for May fell below the national average for that month of 13.3%. The U.S. added 2.5 million payroll jobs last month, lowering the nationwide April unemployment rate of 14.7% by 1.4 percentage points.

Still, Minnesota's unemployment rate in May was down 13.1% compared to that same month last year. Job totals tumbled by approximately 393,100 from May 2020, with the leisure and hospitality industry making up more than one-third of that sum.

Even that is a mild improvement compared to April, when over-the-year job numbers were down 14.3% compared to that same month in 2019.