Minnesota Unemployment Numbers Now Higher Than 2009’s ‘Great Recession’


Minnesota has now seen more unemployment applications during the coronavirus pandemic than during the “Great Recession,” the state’s chief economic commissioner revealed Thursday.

Since the start of the pandemic, Minnesota has seen 536,742 applications for unemployment. That’s an increase of 72,229 applications from this time last week.

“Just to give a little context of that: we are now above the number of unemployment insurance applications that we had during the Great Recession. We had about 450,000 back in 2009. So we’ve moved beyond that peak during the Great Recession,” said Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Steve Grove.

This week alone, Minnesota has had 35,500 new applications, Grove said during a Thursday press briefing. While DEED has seen a “sustained downward trend” in applications over the past several days, it continues to have between 7,000 and 10,000 new applications per day.


Nationally, more than 4.4 million additional Americans filed unemployment claims in the week ending April 18, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday. That’s a decrease of 810,00 applications from the prior week, when 5.25 million Americans filed for unemployment.

Overall, 26 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Tim Walz issued an executive order Thursday that will allow some “non-critical” businesses to return to work April 27, a week before the stay-at-home order expires. In order to reopen early, businesses must first implement a “COVID-19 Preparedness Plan” that includes facility cleaning and share it with the state.

The order applies to industrial and manufacturing businesses, and office-based businesses that aren’t customer facing. In other words, retail environments such as hair salons won’t be allowed to reopen early.

Walz said the order will allow 80,000 to 100,000 Minnesotans to return to work early.

“This is a limited first step in the process of safely reopening some businesses and returning Minnesotans to work,” said Grove. “We will continue to listen to and seek input from business and community leaders and work with public health experts on creative solutions to put more people back to work as safely and quickly as possible.”

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].







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