Minnesotans have seen big wage gains of much of this year, but prices went up even faster last month.
Hourly average wages for private sector workers rose 5.4% in November from a year earlier, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) said. But that was less than the 6.8% increase the nation’s chief measure of inflation, the consumer price index, for November.
In October, wage gains in the state just barely outpaced the nation’s inflation rate. But that situation changed in November as inflation ticked even higher and wage gains moderated a bit.
But there were other bright stops in the latest jobs report. Minnesota’s unemployment rate declined two tenths of a percent to 3.3% in November, reaching the pre-pandemic level of February 2020. That compares to a U.S. unemployment rate of 4.2% and the state added 8,600 jobs last month, just a bit lower than October, when it gain 9,900 jobs.
The largest jump as in leisure and hospitality, which added 2,900 jobs. That was followed by professional and business services with 2,000 jobs and education and health services with 1,600 jobs.
There are still about 87,000 fewer workers in the state’s labor force now than before the pandemic and while Minnesota has recovered 73% of the jobs lost in the first few months of the pandemic, the gap that remains amounts to nearly 112,000 jobs.