A month ago, I wrote about how Minnesota was experiencing the worst of both worlds when it comes to COVID-19, with the state having both the highest death rate per 100,000 population, and the highest unemployment claims, as a percentage of the workforce, out of any neighboring state. It appears this statement is still true today despite the fact that each neighboring state has fewer economic restrictions in place than Minnesota.
According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (MNDEED), more than 758,000 Minnesotans have filed for unemployment since March 16, 2020. According to the Tax Foundation, approximately 14.2 percent of the Minnesota labor force has now applied for or is receiving unemployment compensation benefits, compared to 9.9 percent in Iowa, 9.5 percent in North Dakota, 4.5 percent in South Dakota, and 9.5 percent in Wisconsin, through May 30, 2020.
It is interesting to compare these updated figures to the statistics from a month ago. It appears Minnesota’s claims have come down slightly from May 2, 2020, but Minnesota’s recovery of 1.3 percent lags other states in the area.
Of particular interest is Wisconsin, which saw a decline in initial and continuing unemployment claims of 1.9 percent, because the most of the state has had virtually zero restrictions on businesses after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the Governor’s stay-at-home orders on May 13th.
Since the Wisconsin economy was liberated by the Supreme Court in Mid-May, America’s Dairyland has seen their continued claims fall by 39,342, whereas Minnesota’s claims have been essentially flat since Mid-April. Since May 16th, Wisconsin has seen continued claims fall by an impressive 12.75 percent.
Despite the fact that Minnesota has experienced the most economic pain out of any of its neighboring states, it also has the highest death rate per capita, as you can see in the map below, which was obtained from National Public Radio.
Minnesota has the worst death rate because it has failed to protect elderly populations living in Long Term Care facilities. In fact, Minnesota has more deaths in LTC facilities (955) than the entire state of Wisconsin has total deaths from the virus (647).
To me, this data is damning. Rather than focusing state resources on protecting the most vulnerable populations while allowing other aspects of the economy to remain open, the Walz administration focused on producing lists of essential and non-essential businesses, and shutting down the economy to fight the disease. The results? Minnesota has the worst of both COVID worlds.