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Minnesota unemployment rate climbed to 8.1% in April

Plus: State Fair board to meet to decide on 2020 event; Twin Cities April home sales down 20% over last year; botched transport ruins coronavirus tests from St. Paul nursing home; and more.

DEED Commissioner Steve Grove
Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune/Pool
Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove
Unemployment spike. The Star Tribune’s Evan Ramstad reports: “Minnesota’s jobless rate jumped to 8.1% last month, the first time the state’s monthly employment survey took in full effects of the coronavirus-related downturn that began in March. … It’s the highest figure since 1983 when it hit 8.9%, but it doesn’t reflect all the pain in the Minnesota workforce. … The data came from a survey conducted before the middle of April, and job losses have continued to mount since then from businesses forced to close or cutback because of the need for people to spread out to try to slow the spread of the deadly illness.”

Fair question. KARE’s Dana Thiede reports: “While decisions to cancel or postpone many of Minnesota’s iconic summer events have already been made, one is still out, a choice so impactful that it is the equivalent of a 12,000-pound elephant in the room. … The Minnesota State Fair board of managers will meet Friday morning at 9 a.m. to discuss the status of the 2020 fair. The board does not say on its website that a final decision will be made on whether the event will go on.”

Stay home, not buy home. The Star Tribune’s Jim Buchta reports: “With the economy in a coma and most open houses closed, home buying in the Twin Cities slumped last month. During April home buyers signed 20% fewer purchase agreements compared with last year, according to the Minneapolis Area Realtors, as sellers fretted about letting strangers into their homes and buyers worried about paying too much.”

Whoops. The AP reports: “ State health officials are apologizing for bungled COVID-19 testing at a St. Paul nursing home done by a Minnesota National Guard unit this week. … Test samples from 300 residents and staff members at the Episcopal Church Home were ruined because they were not stored in coolers while being transported to labs at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

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In other news…

More job losses:AAR closing Duluth airline maintenance facility, costing hundreds of jobs” [Star Tribune]

Test takers:The ‘Swab Squad’ on the front lines of the pandemic” [KSTP]

This is terrible (thanks for asking):Well dang, Nora McInerny has left Minnesota” [City Pages]