Skip to main content

Jobs riddle: Why does long-term unemployment persist in Minnesota?

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Minnesota has been relatively fortunate as the nation has climbed out of its recession – the state's latest unemployment figure was 4.8 percent, well below the U.S. rate of 6.7 percent.

But for many long-time job seekers, that figure means little.

Minnesota still has 40,000 long-term unemployed workers who have been looking for a job for six months or longer, about 25 percent of the state's unemployed, MPR News reports.

That figure is down from 54,600 in 2012, but the job seekers are frustrated – and so are experts who have a hard time pinning down exactly why these workers are still struggling to find a job.

Historically, it's not a typical problem. Judd Cramer, co-author of a recent Brookings Institution study on long-term unemployment, told MPR News that about one-third of the nation's unemployed have been looking for six months or more, which is historically high.

"Long-term unemployment, until the Great Recession, it was a European phenomenon we didn't think we had to deal with," Cramer said.

In the grim study released in March by Brookings, three Princeton economists reported that only 11 percent of the long-term unemployed in any given month found full-time work a year later.

The researchers examined whether a low supply of jobs or employer discrimination against the long-term unemployed contributed to long-term unemployment. And the answer was probably both, the Los Angeles Times reported.

MPR chats with job seeker Vicki Pond, who lost her job about 18 months ago: "I'm told by some people, 'Well, we're really looking for someone with a bachelor's or master's degree. And then [by] other people, I'm being told I'm overqualified."

That begs another tough question for job seekers to answer: Should I get a new degree?

It's been suggested that by 2018, 70 percent of all jobs in Minnesota will require post-secondary education.

But the Star Tribune notes that a new report, the twice-a-year Job Vacancy Survey, turns that assertion on its head. That report says that in 2013, the share of job openings that required post-secondary education fell to a seven-year low – 38 percent.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-12-03 at 4.35.18 PM

Watch: New London-Spicer wins 3A championship on incredible walk-off TD

New London-Spicer defeated the unbeaten Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in remarkable circumstances.


Suspect in woman's killing in Moorhead is arrested

James Kollie Jr. was arrested Friday evening.

Jennifer Carnahan

Former chair Jennifer Carnahan sues Minnesota GOP, which is suing her back

Carnahan stepped down under a cloud of controversy in August 2021.

Minneapolis Fire Department

One injured after leaping from burning vacant building in Minneapolis

Authorities say the building is known to be used by squatters.


Head-on crash leaves two drivers dead in southeastern Minnesota

The crash happened in Houston County just before 4 p.m. Friday.


Charges: Armed man made death threats at Minneapolis LGBTQ bar

The man allegedly used derogatory terms while threatening to kill someone.


FDA pulls last COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment as new variants rise

A therapy used to treat more than 11,000 Minnesotans is no longer authorized amid a surge in the latest COVID-19 variants.

Austin Robert LeClaire

Charges: Plymouth man shot girlfriend in head after birthday party

The 23-year-old victim is in critical condition as of Friday.


State announces $2.5M in grants for child care providers

Child care providers in roughly a dozen communities will receive funds to help grow the supply of affordable, quality child care.


Probe of Golden Valley police uncovers racism, alleged misconduct

One officer was terminated for alleged racist comments and violations of state law.

blowing snow

Blowing snow Friday in Minnesota; will it snow next week?

Winds could gust up to 50 mph Friday afternoon and night.

Deer hunting blaze orange

To combat CWD, late-season deer hunting announced for 9 areas of MN

The special hunts will be held between Dec. 16 and 18.