By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota has regained 60% of the jobs lost in the pandemic.

While new numbers show positive steps forward for Minnesota’s workforce, you don’t have to look far to find a labor shortage.

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From a Minneapolis post office to a pizza staple in Grand Marais, the plea for workers is plastered nearly everywhere you look. Businesses across the state are feeling the pinch this summer.

Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner, Steve Grove gave an update Thursday on the state’s unemployment numbers from May.

“It’s a worker’s market out there right now,” Grove said.

He said the rate dropped from 4.1% in April to 4.0% in May and the labor force participation rate went up for the first time in three months to 67.9%.

Still, 17,300 more people remain on unemployment than did in February of 2020.

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“This road out of the pandemic into what’s next is going to be rocky. There will be some bumps along the way. It takes people some time to find the right match for their skills and their lives as folks reenter the labor market,” Grove added.

Ted Chalupsky is CEO of The Right Staff, a staffing firm with 200 plus positions open right now.

“This is typical of what we see at this point of the economic recovery,” he said.

From temporary work to executive searches, he says if people are sitting on the sidelines, it is a good time to make a move.

“This is not going to last forever. A year from now the pendulum may swing the other way and people will have to be cognizant of that,” Chalupsky said.

He calls it a “war for worker talent” that applicants can use to secure better wages and benefits, giving people more options than perhaps ever before.

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“We are seeing a market where workers have more power at least in recent memory,” Grove said.

Liz Collin