Jobless rates continue to rival summer of 2007

Brainerd's jobless rate ticked up just slightly between May and June rising from 8.1 percent to 8.4 percent but Crow Wing County's numbers were unchanged.

Brainerd's jobless rate ticked up just slightly between May and June rising from 8.1 percent to 8.4 percent but Crow Wing County's numbers were unchanged.

Still Brainerd hasn't posted two months with an unemployment rate hovering at 8 percent since the summer of 2007.

In the past seven years, there have been 12 singular months where the Brainerd unemployment dropped into single digits. The Great Recession officially began in December of 2007. That year, Brainerd's jobless rate ranged from 12.5 percent in January to a low of 7.2 percent in October.

Brainerd and Grand Rapids (at 8.2 percent unemployment as of June) lag just behind Bemidji. At 8.7 percent unemployment, the Beltrami County city leads the state's large cities - with populations of 10,000 or more - for the highest joblessness.

Most of the state's other large cities have unemployment rates in the 4 and 5 percent range. Moorhead had a June jobless rate of 2.7 percent.


Brainerd's unemployment numbers come from the 56401 zip code. To take a broader look, the Brainerd micropolitan covers Crow Wing and Cass counties. The micropolitan's jobless numbers remained unchanged between May and June at 5.5 percent. To find a lower jobless number for the micropolitan means going back to the fall of 2007 when that year's October rate dropped to 4.7 percent.

The other micropolitans in the state - Albert Lea, Alexandria, Austin, Bemidji, Fairmont, Faribault-Northfield, Fergus Falls, Hutchinson, Marshall, New Ulm, Owatonna, Red Wing, Willmar and Winona - all had jobless rates between 3.5 percent and 4.7 percent with the exception of Bemidji at 6 percent.

All the micropolitans - except Brainerd - experienced an increase in the unemployment rate between May and June. Hiring signs in the Brainerd and Baxter area are currently commonplace.

Across the seven-county lakes area, jobless rates ranged from a low of 4.6 percent in Todd County to a high 7 percent in Mille Lacs County.

Crow Wing County was the only one unchanged from May to June. Aitkin County actually decreased for the fourth straight month dropping slightly from 6.2 to 6 percent. Cass, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties all increased at least slightly for the same time period.

As with the other measurements for Brainerd and the Brainerd micropolitan, it means going back 80 months to find lower jobless rates than June's 5.1 percent for Crow Wing County.

The Minnesota seasonally adjusted jobless rate decreased from 4.6 percent in May to 4.5 percent in June. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted jobless rate also decreased from 6.3 percent in May to 6.1 percent in June.

Out of Minnesota's labor force of 2,995,189, the June jobless rate equates to 135,546 people without jobs. In the nation, the jobless rate adds up to 9.4 million people who are out of work from a labor force of 155,694,000.


June jobless rates

County, jobless rate, labor force, unemployed

Aitkin 6% 7,422 445

Cass 6.5% 14,647 955

Crow Wing 5.1% 34,771 1,773

Mille Lacs 7% 12,330 860

Morrison 5.6% 17,523 976

Todd 4.6% 12,551 573


Wadena 5.9% 6,270 373

Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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