Minnesota’s jobs picture: Could be worse?

We’ve been agonizing in recent posts about the worrisome trends in Minnesota’s labor data and the fact that we won’t recoup all the jobs lost in this recession until mid-2013.

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In true Minnesota fashion, however, we’d like to note: It could be worse.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has been keeping records during this recession of employment decline by state and comparing them to past recessions. The Fed keeps great, geeky data and you can find it here.

Searching for silver linings, we compared the two worst post-WWII recessions: 1980 and, yes, the one we’re in now. Here’s the Fed’s chart for changes in employment in Minnesota during those two recessions (click on the chart for a larger view).


Many of us (OK, me) remember how lousy things were in 1980 and 1981. The chart confirms it took longer for Minnesota’s job market to hit bottom in 1980 than now.

It’s true our employment picture seems stubbornly stuck in neutral lately. October jobless numbers showed a 7.1 percent unemployment rate here, an uptick from September.

We’re hoping for better numbers next week when the state releases November data.

Until, then, maybe there’s some small solace in the fact that we’ve been here before and things do get better.

Check out the Minneapolis Fed data . If you see anything that gives you hope or dread, we want to hear about it.

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