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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s no secret the pandemic is tough on parents. But, Minnesota parents — specifically mothers — are taking an extra hard hit.

New research by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve shows fathers and mothers were both hit by pandemic job loss. Fathers mostly rebounded but mothers are not re-entering the job force at nearly the same rate.

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Like most families, Nichole Lelle of Farmington and hers have had some extra quality time together this past year.

Nichole Lelle (credit: CBS)

“We are so busy in our usual lives that the pandemic does give us that opportunity to really just bond as a family,” she said.

That’s been the bright side to a dim year. Lelle lost her job as the catering and events manager for a restaurant.

“I got laid off and since then I’ve been searching for something different or trying to find another job and it’s been really hard,” she said.

She is a busy mother. She started an online T-shirt company trying to make ends meet with sporadic help.

“Day care at this point is really hard to manage, and not for lack of them trying, but my daughter goes to a small day care and if one of them gets ill or their family does, we look at shutting down for 14 days,” she said.

It’s been clear for a while that parents were affected during the pandemic, but new data shows that parents like Lelle, mothers of young children, are the hardest hit.

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A new study from the Federal Reserve in Minneapolis shows the share of Minnesota mothers of young children in the labor force decreased almost three times as much as the nation.

Rob Grunewald is an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

“That’s a much higher rate than we saw at the national average so there are many more mothers who are not employed,” he said.

Men seemed to be able to get jobs faster as women have more often had to cover for day care gaps.

“Care responsibilities by the end of last year were not keeping fathers out of the labor force like they were for mothers,” Grunewald said.

He credits Minnesota’s dramatic rates to the fact more women were working in the first place and says the data shows who needs to be supported most to heal the economy.

“I hope that when this all over the workforce will open for us and we won’t have issues with those gaps in work,” Lelle said.

She says many moms like herself are a launching at home businesses like and

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The Federal Reserve says the unemployment trend is not the same for single parents.

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The daily coronavirus update: 8 more deaths, 813 new cases in Minnesota

Sign up here to get our daily updates on coronavirus in Minnesota delivered straight to your inbox each afternoon. And go here to see all of MinnPost’s COVID-19 coverage.

MinnPost provides updates on coronavirus in Minnesota Sunday through Friday. The information is published following a press phone call with members of the Walz administration or after the release of daily COVID-19 figures by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Here are the latest updates from February 28, 2021:

Eight more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Sunday, for a total of 6,483.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Sunday, two were in their 90s, three in their 80s, one in their 60s, one in their 50s and one was in their 30s. Four of the eight people whose deaths were announced Sunday were residents of long-term care facilities.

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MDH also said Sunday there have been 484,594 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of positives is up 813 from Saturday’s count and is based on 29,143 new tests. The seven-day positivity average, which lags by a week, is 3.7 percent. You can find the seven-day positive case average here.

The state reports 878,346 Minnesotans have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 452,562 people have completed a vaccine series. 

The most recent data available show 60 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 203 are in the hospital with COVID-19 but not in intensive care. You can find more information about Minnesota’s current ICU usage and capacity here.

More information on cases can be found here.

Today on MinnPost
  • Why Minnesota’s budget surplus isn’t going to end the Legislature’s debate over taxes, by Peter Callaghan
  • Asking yourself how long it’s been since this all started? Us too. 
  • As always, a look at the numbers on the MinnPost COVID-19 dashboard.

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Around the web
  • Obesity specialist says BMI is a ‘good measure’ for vaccine priority group, NPR
  • What can we learn from Africa’s experience of Covid?, The Guardian

MDH’s coronavirus website:

MDH’s phone line for COVID-19 questions, Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m: 651-297-1304

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