Jobless rates drop slightly in lakes region
Most of the lakes region experienced at least a small drop in the unemployment rate in October.
Wadena County was the sole county where the jobless rate was unchanged between September and October. Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Morrison and Todd counties all experienced a decline - even if it was slight. The jobless rates varied from 6.7 percent to 9.6 percent across the seven county area.
In Brainerd, the unemployment rate has routinely been the highest in the state for cities with populations of 10,000 or more.
Brainerd's rate dropped from 12.6 percent in September to 12.3 percent in October. The city's highest jobless rate for the year was in January at 19 percent. A year ago, in October 2009, the city's unemployment rate was 12.9 percent.
See JOBLESS, Page 5A
Brainerd has now posted double-digit jobless rates for 24 straight months. The last time Brainerd's rate was below double digits was October of 2008 at 9.8 percent.
For large cities across the state, the jobless rate is well below 10 percent with numbers often in the 5-7 percent range. Only two large cities in the state are in double-digit unemployment rates. The other city was Grand Rapids at 10.1 percent.
Moorhead and Marshall posted jobless numbers of 3.5 percent for October.
In the Brainerd Micropolitan area, which covers Cass and Crow Wing counties, there is a labor force of 47,078. Of those, 3,705 are without jobs.
The micropolitan's unemployment rate is 7.9 percent, down from 8.1 percent in September. The micropolitan's highest unemployment rate in 2010 came in February at 12 percent. A year ago, the micropolitan's unemployment level was 8.1 percent.
For a little perspective, the October 2008 jobless rate for the micropolitan was 6.4 percent. For October 2007, it was 4.7 percent. Toward the start of the decade, in October 2001, it was 3.6 percent. Between 2001 and 2007, the micropolitan's rate was never more than 5 percent in the month of October.
Historically, there is typically a drop in jobless rates between September and October before the numbers start a winter climb.
In Minnesota, the seasonally adjusted jobless rate for October was 7.1 percent. Nationally, that number was 9.6 percent.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.