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Jobs aplenty: Becker County's unemployment rate is lowest it's been in decades

Becker County's unemployment rate seems to be on a downward trend, sitting at 2.4 percent, the lowest it's been, according to DEED and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics compiled data, which dates back to 1990.

The statistics show the county's unemployment rate has been dropping for most of the year, moving from 6.8 percent in January to the current 2.4 percent.

Chet Bodin, a regional analyst with DEED, says that the drop may have a lot to do with the changing demographics, the large number of people retiring.

In fact, in 2017, Becker County saw a labor force drop of about 700 people.

"As retirees are leaving the workforce, employers have a ton of jobs to fill," said Bodin, adding, "There really just isn't the type of strong labor force entry that there used to be.

Though Bodin says this labor force drop is good for the people looking to move to the area, since there are plenty of jobs to be snatched up. It also means that wages and, consequently, average median household income have gone up because employers have to get competitive to keep their employees.

It's an employee job market and employers are working harder to maintain the workers they can find. Though, the stats show Becker County may have found a way to increase labor force, seeing as in October, the labor force increased by about 183 people, and the employment rate also increased, adding 273 jobs. However, Bodin says some of those jobs could be people living in Becker County but commuting to another town for work.

"Jobs in Becker County have been pretty even since 2015," said Bodin.

Bodin says Becker County's statistics are pretty typical compared to similar countries and, statewide, it's sitting pretty similar as well.

This year, Minnesota's unemployment rate in Sept. and Oct. were 2.9 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively, which matched Becker County's percentages.

And, the county and state are still sitting better than the nation, which was at a 4.1 percent unemployment rate in Sept. and a 3.9 percent unemployment rate in Oct.

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