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Lakes area jobless rates climb in November

The lakes area jobless rates took a jump in November.

In Brainerd, the jobless rate increased from 12.3 percent in October to 15.3 percent in November.

The city continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the state and by a notable margin. Brainerd hasn't had an unemployment rate this high since it posted an 18.4 jobless rate in March. The city's highest unemployment rate in 2010 was 19 percent in January.

But the jump from 12 percent to 15 percent isn't unprecedented. The city made a similar leap between October and November last year. Brainerd's unemployment level was never below 12.8 percent in all of 2009. For November, the percentages mean out of a labor force of 6,999, Brainerd had 1,070 people out of work.

Brainerd was one of three cities in the state - with populations more than 10,000 - that had double-digit unemployment in November. Bemidji posted 10.8 percent and Grand Rapids had 11.4 percent. Those two cities have been with Brainerd in the perennial category for the highest jobless rates in Minnesota for large cities. Many other large cities in the state were in the 5, 6 and 7 percent range for November.

The Brainerd micropolitan - which covers Cass and Crow Wing counties with a labor force of 45,172 people - saw its unemployment rate rise from 7.9 percent in October to 10 percent in November. That left 4,527 people without jobs in the micropolitan. November marked the micropolitan's first return to double digits since March.

With seasonal employment in the region, the November jobless rates typically begin the winter climb with the highest unemployment rates often in January. The rates typically start a more substantial drop in April.

The seven area county rates joined in the jobless rate jump.

  •  Aitkin County rose from 7.8 percent in October to 9.5 percent unemployment in November. Aitkin County sustained an unemployment rate of about 12.3 percent for the first three months of the year before dropping below 10 percent in April and staying there.
  • Cass County rose from 8.6 percent to 11.5 percent. Cass County hovered in the 9 percent jobless rate range from May through October.
  • Crow Wing County rose from 7.5 percent to 9.4 percent. Crow Wing County's highest unemployment this year was 11.4 percent.
  • Mille Lacs County rose from 9.6 percent to 10.9 percent. Mille Lacs County had only one month to date without double-digit unemployment since December of 2008 and that came in October.
  • Morrison County rose from 7.5 percent to 8.9 percent. The county had its highest jobless rate at 12.2 percent in January.
  • Todd County rose from 6.7 percent to 7.5 percent, for its highest unemployment since April.
  • Wadena County rose from 8.4 percent to 10 percent. This is Wadena's first return to double digits since March.

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at or 855-5852.