Employment in most Minnesota industries continues to lag behind where it was before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, according to a state budget and economic forecast released Monday.
Minnesota had 108,900 fewer jobs in December 2021 than it did in February 2020, a 3.6% drop, forecast documents show.
State officials create a forecast report twice a year, which predicts whether there will be a state budget surplus or deficit — in this case, they estimated a historic $9.3 billion surplus — and provides legislators and the governor with a basis for budgeting.
But the lengthy document also offers a deep dive into state finances and the factors shaping Minnesota's economy, including employment.
The state's largest industry, education and health services, had 25,700 fewer jobs in December 2021 than in February 2020. The leisure and hospitality industry, one of the hardest-hit sectors during the pandemic, lost 136,000 jobs in the first couple of months after the COVID outbreak. While most of those jobs had returned as of December 2021, a 20,600 job gap remained compared with pre-pandemic numbers.
"Job losses in leisure and hospitality have disproportionately impacted low-income workers," the forecast notes.
Construction is the only sector where there are now more Minnesotans employed than there were before the pandemic, the report states.