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Minnesota Has 3rd Lowest Increase in Unemployment Nationwide Since Enactment of Federal Stimulus Bill

As it turns out, the three-tenths of a percent decrease in jobless claims announced last week by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is the backdrop to an even larger story of (relatively) good economic news for Minnesotans. While Minnesota has endured record setting increases in unemployment over...

Unemployment Down in Minnesota and South Dakota, Flat in Wisconsin

New unemployment data released this week for the month of July in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin provides largely good news on the labor force front in the Upper Midwest. In Minnesota, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 8.4 percent in June to 8.1 percent in July. Minnesota's jobless...

Unemployment Continues to Rise at Historic Pace Across Upper Midwest

June was not a good month for jobs in the Upper Midwest, with unemployment increasing in Minnesota and three of its four neighboring states - Iowa, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. While unemployment remains below the national average across the region, the current rate of increase of jobless claims remains on...

South Dakota Sets Historic 76 Percent Yearly Increase in Unemployment Mark in June

The South Dakota Department of Labor released new unemployment numbers Wednesday for the month of June - numbers which solidify the past twelve months as the worst stretch in modern history for the Mount Rushmore State's job market, according to available Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data going back to...

Wisconsin Overtakes Minnesota as #1 State in Health Care Quality Rankings

The newly released 2008 state rankings by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) finds the State of Wisconsin has passed Minnesota for overall health care quality in the United States. Minnesota, ranked #2 in 2008, was the top state in...

South Dakota Unemployment Rate Reaches 5 Percent for First Time Since 1985

New unemployment numbers released by the South Dakota Department of Labor quickly doused the short-lived optimism about the economic situation in the Upper Midwest, which had seen historic increases in the jobless rates across the Upper Midwest halt and slightly reverse course in April in four states - South Dakota,...

Minnesota, Western States Lead Nation in Male Population; Vote for GOP Governors

In one of the quirkier statistical findings reported by this blog, a new Smart Politics analysis of Census Bureau data finds that all twelve states in the country in which the male population is equal to or greater than that of the female population are located west of the Mississippi...

Fact Check: Is Stephanie Herseth Sandlin a "Radical Liberal?"

Last Thursday the South Dakota Republican Party launched a new website called "Stop Stephanie," designed to attack 4-term At-large Democrat U.S. Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Herseth Sandlin - a virtual lock for a 5th term should she decide to run again in 2010 - is also a rumored candidate...

Minnesota and Upper Midwest Being Spared the Worst of US Job Loss Crisis

While Minnesota and the rest of the Upper Midwestern states are still in the midst of enduring some of the largest unemployment rates each has endured for many years, most of the region is historically doing quite well on the employment front when compared to the situation of the country...

South Dakota Unemployment Rate Drops for First Time in 18 Months

In what may be the Upper Midwest’s first sign of the beginning of the end of its economic recession, the South Dakota Department of Labor announced on Wednesday that the Mount Rushmore State’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate had fallen to 4.8 percent for the month of April. While that drop...

Should Minnesota's Corrections Budget Be Increased?

The passage of public safety legislation this week in the Senate (SF 802) and House (HF 1162) included a reduction of approximately $100 million of the base budgets across more than a dozen departments – the largest being a $34.2 million cut to the Department of Corrections. However, the bill...

Iowa Least Affected by Unemployment Increases in the Upper Midwest

Although the unemployment numbers released during the past week by Iowa Workforce Development find the Hawkeye State with its highest seasonally adjusted jobless rate since December 1987, Iowans are not losing their jobs at the rate endured by other Upper Midwestern states. At 5.2 percent, Iowa's current unemployment rate is...

South Dakota Unemployment Rate Reaches 23+ Year High

South Dakota’s Department of Labor announced the state’s new March 2009 unemployment numbers Wednesday morning – numbers which find the Mouth Rushmore State enduring its highest jobless rate in more than 23 years. The seasonally adjusted March 2009 unemployment rate of 4.9 percent is the highest in South Dakota since...

Upper Midwestern States Bearing the Brunt of Rising Unemployment

Although the majority of Upper Midwestern states are currently experiencing some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, the rate of increase, particularly during the last four months, has hit this region of the country particularly hard. Overall, three of the five states with the lowest unemployment rates in...

Is Minnesota the Most Democratic-Friendly State in the Midwest?

Smart Politics recently examined Governor Tim Pawlenty's approval rating and highlighted its remarkable strength and stability in the face of the current economic crisis. But Pawlenty's popularity is also noteworthy when viewed in the greater partisan environment of the Gopher State. A Smart Politics analysis of state and federal officeholders...

Upper Midwest House Members Vote 18-5 in Favor of TARP Bailout Bonus Tax

On Thursday, Upper Midwestern U.S. House Democrats unanimously supported a bill that would impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) recipients. The measured passed 328 to 93 in the lower chamber. The bill (HR 1586) taxes at 90 percent bonuses given to employees...

Jobless Claims Rate of Increase Slowed Across Upper Midwest in February

Preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment data for the month of February 2009 was released on Wednesday and Thursday for three Upper Midwestern states, with each showing a reduction in the rate of growth of jobless claims. While unemployment rates continued to rise in all three states since January, each state was...

Heading (North) West, Young Man? Not So Fast, Minnesota

What with Minnesota's unemployment rate and per capita 2010 budget deficit the largest in the entire Upper Midwestern region, one wonders if Gopher State residents will soon look to the purportedly thriving Dakotas to find economic shelter during these trying times. North Dakota's booming oil business received a lot of...

Minnesota Legislature Ranks Near Bottom in Proportional Representation of African-Americans

Although Minnesota has the 4th highest percentage of women serving in state legislatures nationwide, the Gopher State only ranks 40th in the country in terms of proportional representation of African-Americans in St. Paul. Out of the 201 legislators in the State House and Senate, only 2 members are black -...

South Dakota Suffers Record Unemployment Jump in January

Although South Dakota has not yet been hit by the scale of job losses experienced across the nation or the Upper Midwest, the new January numbers released on Friday by the state’s Department of Labor indicate South Dakota, like its neighbor to the east, is experiencing its worst unemployment trend...

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Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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