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State unemployment rate dips; Becker's rises

Minnesota's unemployment rate declined 0.2 percentage points to a seasonally adjusted 6.8 percent in June, according to figures released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The state unemployment rate remained well below the nation's rate of 9.5 percent in June. The state shed 3,700 jobs during the month, primarily U.S. Census jobs that had been filled on a temporary basis. Minnesota's labor force participation rate fell 0.4 percentage points during the month to 72.2 percent, while the national rate declined from 65 percent to 64.7 percent.

In June nearly 14,000 workers left the state's labor force. The number of jobs in Minnesota has grown 0.4 percent in the past 12 months, compared with a 0.1 percent decline nationally.

"Minnesota's employment picture in June mirrored the nation's, reflecting the uneven nature of economic recovery," said DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy. "Still, Minnesota has gained more than 11,000 jobs in the past 12 months, representing the first year-over-year employment growth in the state since April 2008."

Leisure and hospitality added 5,100 jobs in Minnesota in June, followed by financial activities, which grew by 2,300 jobs.

Job losses during the month were led by trade, transportation and utilities (down 3,200), primarily in retail. Losses in retail employment were consistent with other measures of declining consumer confidence and consumer spending.

Losses also occurred in other services (down 2,800), professional and business services (down 2,600), construction (down 900), manufacturing (down 900), information (down 200), education and health services (down 200), government (down 200), and logging and mining (down 100).

Individual county unemployment figures -- not seasonally adjusted -- were also released.

In Becker County, the June unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent, up from 6.9 in May. But this year's figure dipped slightly from last year's 8.8 rate in June.

For Hubbard County, the June unemployment rate came in at 8.7 percent, slightly lower than May's 8.8 percent.

Mahnomen County saw an increase in June to 7.7 percent, up from 7.0 in May.

Otter Tail County's June rate came in at 6.5 percent, up from 6.1 in May.

Clay County's latest unemployment rate is the lowest out of all of the surrounding counties. Its June figure comes in at 4.6 percent, up from 3.9 percent in May.

DEED is the state's principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development.