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Brainerd's Dec. unemployment rate rises for second year

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Brainerd’s jobless rate rose to 12.7 percent in December, a mirror image to the unemployment rate one year ago.

The city’s area jobless rate was 11.6 percent in November.

Bemidji’s jobless rate for December was 11.7 percent. Brainerd and Bemidji were the only two city areas — of those with populations of 10,000 or more — in the state with jobless rates in double digits. There are 66 large cities in the state.

Fifty-two other cities in the state posted December jobless rates between 3 percent to 5.8 percent. And a dozen other cities had December jobless rates of 6 percent to 9.7 percent. Grand Rapids was pushing the edge of that envelope with the 9.7 percent.

Brainerd has a labor force of 7,408 people and from the labor force 942 are unemployed, according to the latest numbers from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The Brainerd micropolitan, which includes Crow Wing and Cass counties, had a December jobless rate of 8.6 percent. The labor force in the micropolitan includes 46,216 people, of which 3,974 were without jobs. The micropolitan’s jobless rate increased from 7.6 percent in November. A year ago, the micropolitan had a jobless rate of 8.9 percent.

Minnesota’s jobless rate as of December, seasonally adjusted, was 5.5 percent, a slight drop from November’s 5.6 percent. The state has ranged from 5.5 percent to 5.9 percent since November of 2011. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted jobless rate in December was 7.8 percent, largely unchanged from September.

December unemployment rates across the seven-county area were:

■ Aitkin County — 8.1 percent.

■ Cass County — 9.6 percent.

■ Crow Wing County — 8.2 percent.

■ Mille Lacs County — 9.5 percent.

■ Morrison County — 8.4 percent.

■ Todd County — 6.4 percent.

■ Wadena County — 7.6 percent.

There were 8,533 people out of the labor force without jobs across the seven-county area. The jobless rates went up in all the counties in December, which is a typical trend as the winter deepens in the lakes region.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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