ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's unemployment rate in October is back to where it was immediately before the global pandemic began in March 2020 at 3.5 percent. That's down two-tenths of a percentage point from September.

The decline in the unemployment rate is primarily due to people going back to work, although the size of the labor force still shrank slightly by nearly 1,000 people. Minnesota's labor force participation rate remains down from before the pandemic at nearly 68 percent, compared to 70 percent in March of 2020. Minnesota's labor force is more than 84,000 workers smaller than it was in the spring of 2020.

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In Minnesota, average hourly earnings for all private-sector workers rose 41 cents to $33.43 in October. Over the year, average hourly earnings have gone up $1.99.  However, while wages are up 6.3 percent in the past year, inflation is up 6.2 percent year-over-year eating up most workers' pay raises.

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