As Minnesota’s job market continues to improve after the recession, not all Minnesotans are sharing in the state’s progress.
Our recent analysis shows that while overall unemployment is low in the state, those groups who faced the highest levels of unemployment in the rough economy are still having the most difficulty finding jobs. These include workers with less education, single parents, the young and people of color. For example, while the gap has narrowed, Minnesotans without a high school diploma were more than 3.5 times as likely to be unemployed than those with a college degree. One in nine of these Minnesotans were unemployed during the first quarter of 2014.
When too many Minnesotans cannot find work, it impedes the state’s economic growth. Fortunately, policymakers took several steps in the 2014 Legislative Session to help more Minnesotans get good jobs to support themselves and their families, including:
- Increasing the minimum wage, which will boost wages for around 325,000 Minnesota workers and could reduce turnover in low-wage jobs.
- Provisions in the Women’s Economic Security Act to help female workers get into high-wage fields and meet their family obligations without threatening their jobs.
- Improving education and training opportunities for Minnesotans through the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) and Adult Basic Education.
These policies can contribute to narrowing the gaps in unemployment we see in Minnesota, and expand opportunity to more of those Minnesotans who currently are being left out of the state’s economic recovery.