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Area jobless rates continue to fall

Jobless rates fell for the third straight month across the entire seven county lakes region.

Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison and Wadena counties all dropped out of double-digit unemployment rates in April. Besides a small increase posted in many of the counties in July, the recent trend has all been downward. Mille Lacs County took a little longer, finally falling below a 10 percent jobless rate in August. Todd County was ahead of the pack and has been below 10 percent unemployment since March of 2010.

Brainerd, the city perennially with the highest unemployment of all Minnesota cities of 10,000 residents or more, continued its reign in that unwelcome category.

Brainerd had an October jobless rate of 10.3 percent meaning 752 people from a labor force of 7,285 are without jobs. Brainerd is the only large city in the state at double-digit unemployment. Next on the list was Bemidji at 9.1 percent. The majority of the other cities were in the 4 percent and 5 percent range. The large city with the lowest unemployment was Vadnais Heights at 2.7 percent.

While Brainerd has a long way to go to reach that kind of jobless rate, it takes going back three years to find a rate lower than October’s.

In the Brainerd Micropolitan, covering Cass and Crow Wing counties, the jobless rate was 6.5 percent down from 7.1 percent a month ago. To find a lower unemployment rate in the micropolitan’s history means going back 36 months to October of 2008 when the rate was 6.3 percent. So from a micropolitan labor force of 47,849 people, 3,133 were listed as unemployed.

In the seven county area, the labor force numbers 104,381 people. The lion’s share of that comes from Crow Wing County’s labor force of 33,642. Across the seven counties, 6,638 people from the labor force are without jobs.

So how does the lakes area compare with the state and nation? Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate for October was 6.4 percent, which was down from 6.9 percent a month earlier. That percentage translates to 191,947 people jobless out of a labor force in the state of 2.9 million.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 9 percent in October.

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at renee.richardson or 855-5852.

Becca Clemens
After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Central Lakes College in Staples, MN for 2 years where I got a diploma in Communication Art and Design. I then transfered up to Bemidji State University in, you guessed it, Bemidji, MN. In the spring of 2009, I graduated from BSU. Then in the fall of 2009 I got a job at Echo Publishing, a sister company to the Brainerd Dispatch.