Good news on county, state jobs

Good news for Minnesota: The state added 7,200 private sector jobs in September, sending its unemployment rate down to 4.1 percent, the lowest in eight years.

Good news for Minnesota: The state added 7,200 private sector jobs in September, sending its unemployment rate down to 4.1 percent, the lowest in eight years.

The September gains, combined with August figures that were revised upward by 2,700 jobs, bring calendar year gains to a seasonally adjusted 23,000 jobs statewide.

Since hitting the recessionary low point five years ago in September, Minnesota has added 212,800 jobs.

Becker County’s unemployment rate for August (the latest data available) was 3.4 percent.

Of surrounding counties, only Clay County was better at 2.4 percent.


Otter Tail County was at 3.5 percent. Hubbard County and Mahnomen County were both at 4.9 percent. Even the perennially high Clearwater County was only at 7.9 percent.

The national unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent for September.

Here’s how surrounding states fared: Wisconsin’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent in September and 8,400 private-sector jobs were added. The job growth puts total private-sector jobs created in the last four years to about 111,000.

September numbers were not yet available for Iowa or North Dakota, but the unemployment rate in August stood at 4.5 percent for Iowa and 2.4 percent for North Dakota.

In Minnesota, professional and business services led all sectors in September with 4,100 job gains. Other sectors that added jobs were leisure and hospitality (up 3,900), other services (up 1,300), education and health services (up 1,100), manufacturing (up 1,100), trade, transportation and utilities (up 300) and construction (up 200). Information jobs held steady for the month.

Sectors with job losses were government (down 4,200), financial activities (down 400) and mining and logging (down 200).

“As of September, it has been exactly five years since Minnesota’s employment level hit the recessionary low,” said Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben.

“Since then, our state has added 212,800 jobs, enough to put us 53,800 jobs above our pre-recessionary peak. With 50 consecutive months of over-the-year job growth, Minnesota’s economy is showing signs of consistent, broad-based progress.”


Over the past year, professional and business services led all sectors with 11,161 new jobs, followed by manufacturing (up 10,376), education and health services (up 8,022), construction (up 6,996), leisure and hospitality (up 4,901), government (up 2,347), trade, transportation and utilities (up 1,007), information (up 851), other services (up 678), and logging and mining (up 541).

Financial activities lost 1,752 jobs over the past 12 months.

DEED has added a section to its website that drills down into the unemployment rate by race, age and gender and examines under-employment as well as unemployment.

For example, the data shows that the unemployment rate for blacks in Minnesota is nearly triple that of whites, and the rate for Hispanics is double that of whites. Teens face a much higher unemployment problem than adults, and men are slightly more likely to be unemployed than women.

So while the trend is in the right direction, there is a lot of room for improvement.

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