20 percent of Minnesota's workforce has filed for unemployment since start of pandemic

More than 600,000 workers have filed for unemployment since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota.

Since mid-March, the state reports it has received 624,873 unemployment filings. That amounts to 20 percent of the state's workforce, a number the rivals unemployment rates during the Great Depression when rates pushed towards 25 percent.

Many of those applications, more than 200,000, came during the first 11 days of the pandemic response, as restaurants and bars were closed to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Nationwide, over the past six weeks, 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment.

In April, Minnesota extended unemployment benefits by 13 weeks. The measure followed increases to benefit that were passed by the federal government.