According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) there were fewer unemployed job seekers in April 2022 than in any other month since data became available in January 1990. With only 766 unemployed, this was the first time that unemployment in Greater Mankato dropped below 1000 since November 1999 when unemployment was at 924. Due to a smaller labor force in 1999, that reflected an unemployment rate of 2.5% while the April 2022 unemployment rate fell to an all-time low of 1.3%.
Since January, the region has added 1,600 jobs and increased employment by 1,060. Between March and April, 600 jobs were added and employment increased by 268. This is shrinking the gap that exists from employment, where numbers have returned to pre-pandemic levels and jobs, where numbers have lagged behind. This shrinking gap could be caused by more people from outside the region taking jobs locally, individuals working remotely for a company outside of our region deciding to work for a local business, and individuals deciding to work multiple jobs.
Note that the difference between these two statistics is that jobs record the number of paychecks being issued by companies in Blue Earth & Nicollet County regardless of where employees live. Employment records the number of people living in Blue Earth & Nicollet County who work, regardless of where theywork. A deeper explanationof this difference can be found at the end of the January employment figure report.
Preliminary figures for March were released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and showed minor changes to both jobs and employment numbers in the Greater Mankato Area. The region saw job (nonfarm payroll) growth of 200 increasing to 56,400. This follows adjustments to the February numbers that added an additional 200 jobs to what was reported in February.
Conversely, the region saw employment fall by 193 to 60,114. While this sets a historic record for the highest employment seen in March, seeing a reduction in employment between February and March is unusual for our region. The 193 person decrease reflected a reduction of 3 tenths of one percent. A deeper explanation of the difference between these two statistics and why the number of jobs is less than employment can be found at the end of the January employment figure report.
The total labor force saw a similar decrease as 146 people exited the labor force bringing the March labor force to 61,478.
Unemployment remained at a historic March low of 1,364. Traditionally, our region only sees unemployment numbers this low between September and December. The 2.2% unemployment rate remains much lower than the state unemployment rate of 2.8% and the federal unemployment rate of 3.8%.
Preliminary figures for February were released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Between January & February, Greater Mankato saw employment growth of 900 to a post-pandemic high of 60,194. Jobs (total nonfarm payroll) increased by 700 to 56,000. In short, the difference between jobs and employment is that the jobs number counts the number of paychecks being issued in Greater Mankato and employment counts the number of people who live in Mankato who work. A deeper explanation of the difference between these two statistics and why the number of jobs is less than employment can be found at the end of the January employment figure report.
Unemployment decreased by 342 and the labor force grew by 558. The growth in employment and labor force comes on top of January numbers that have been adjusted up by 200 since they were released last month.
The employment numbers in our region and the jobs numbers in our region paint two very different pictures of the talent shortage. Employment is at its highest point since the beginning of the pandemic and is down by less than 400 compared to February 2020. This tells us that the vast majority of people in our region have returned to work in some form. In contrast, jobs are down by 2,800 compared to February 2020. This helps explain why there are so many businesses short workers despite the labor force return in Greater Mankato. There are a number of possible reasons for this difference:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released preliminary January data for their Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) and Current Employment Statistics (CES) reports. In these reports, we saw that the number of employed individuals living in the Mankato-North Mankato MSA rose by 366 while the number of jobs being worked (total nonfarm payroll) in our region dropped by 900 (information on the difference between employed individuals & jobs data can be found at the end of this blog post).
The number of non-farm jobs being worked in our region dropped from 56,300 in December 2021 to 55,400 in January 2022, a 1.6% decrease. In contrast, the number of employed individuals rose from 58,716 to 59,082 over the same period, a 0.6% increase. Individuals entering the labor force rose by an even higher 1.1% (688) people. Between December 2021 and January 2022, the labor force rose from 60,050 to 60,638 – its highest point since November 2020.