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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More Minnesotans are without jobs.

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The unemployment rate keeps growing as some industries simply can’t operate amidst COVID-19.

Just in the last two weeks, 255,371 Minnesotans have filed for unemployment. The state is getting more than 17,000 applications a day.

It’s been several weeks since Minneapolis vocalist Faye Lewis has taken the stage. And the bar where she serves food and makes a living, Eli’s, has gone silent, too.

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“Not only financially, but just the emotional impact of not being able to go out and see the people you go out and work with, the joy of playing music,” Lewis said. “It’s really hard to be able to not have that in my daily life.”

Lewis has gone from two incomes to none. For the first time in her 20 years of working, she’s had to file for unemployment.

“That’s been hard trying to get money, and I actually just applied for food stamps because I figured why not trying to get as much help as I can,” Lewis said.

Unemployment is about 50% of her weekly salary, which is tricky since she is a server and tips aren’t included in the calculation. She says the $208 a week she is getting is not enough.

Lewis’s story is the most common unemployment story right now. In Minnesota, these are most-impacted industries COVID-19:

  • Food service
  • Sales and service
  • Office and administrative support
  • Personal care (salons, barber shops)
  • Health care workers and techs in dental or elective surgery fields


The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development says 38% of those applying for unemployment in Minnesota have a high school degree or less; 41% have an associate’s degree or some college; and 21% have a four-year college degree or more.

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Dr. Leonard Lang is a Twin Cities-based job coach who runs Beard Avenue, which coaches job applicants. Lang says he has never seen a market like this, but there is some opportunity amid the uncertainty.

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“It’s a good time, even though you may be thinking of something urgent, to be thinking about what you really want to do with your career in the long term,” Lang said. “This could be used as an opportunity, just think about what else you might be able to do.”

He says it’s a good time to think about a career change or entrepreneur venture, and to get some good advice from people in fields where you have interest.

“Also, think about doing some networking now. People are really craving to have contact with people right now, so instead of being a little more interruptive as it might have been in the past,” Lang said.

And if you need a job immediately, there is big demand in Minnesota for these jobs:

  • Nursing assistants
  • Human and social service assistants
  • Registered nurses
  • Customer service representatives
  • Security guards
  • Personal care aides


Lewis is searching for new jobs daily, and figuring out how to survive.

“I had a friend come over and dropped off a huge bag of groceries to me. It brought tears to my eyes, yeah,” she said.

Lewis is out of work, but not out of hope.

“I’m hoping everybody really does their part to nip it in the bud and just get back to regular life,” she said.

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The state of Wisconsin also has a list of open jobs from nurses to grocery service drivers.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield