MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – State officials say Minnesota’s unemployment rate dipped to 4.2% in March, down from a revised 4.4% in February, though people of color continue to feel the deepest impact of job loss due to the pandemic.

While more people have found work, many have also left the labor force, officials say. Numbers from the Department of Employment and Economic Development reveal that Minnesota’s labor force participation dropped from 68% to 67.8%, back to where it was in April of 2020. Before the pandemic, it was 70.2%.

Minnesota gained 21,600 jobs in March, an increase of 0.8%, while nationally the U.S. gained 916,000 jobs, up 0.6% over the month. Minnesota’s job growth surpassed the state’s previous pandemic peak in October of 2020.

“It’s good to see Minnesota’s job growth reach its highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic, but we still have a long way to go,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “There are over 100,000 job postings in the state, and we need to make sure more Minnesotans are aware of these opportunities to get back into the labor force.”

But Black, Indigenous, and people of color are still disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, as the unemployment rate for Black Minnesotans was 9.0% in March, up from 4.5% one year ago. The Latinx unemployment rate was 7.7% in March, compared to 4.6% last year. White Minnesotans were at 5.9% in March, and up from 3.0% a year ago.

Between February and April of 2020, Minnesota lost 416,300 jobs. Since then, 225,200 jobs – or 54.1% – have been gained back.