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Economy and jobs


Iowa Unemployment Rate Falls for First Time in Nearly Three Years

New numbers released this week by Iowa Workforce Development find the Hawkeye State joining Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota in seeing a slight drop in the unemployment rate for the month of April. Iowa’s jobless rate fell from 5.2 in March to 5.1 percent – marking the first drop...

North Dakota Unemployment Rate Falls to Record 4.9 points Below National Average

For the second consecutive month, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has fallen in the State of North Dakota - providing further evidence of at least a lull in, if not a cessation to, the bad economic news that has befallen the Upper Midwest during the past year. April's jobless rate...

Minnesota Unemployment Rate Drops for First Time Since May '08

On the heels of the positive developments in South Dakota, which also saw its unemployment rate drop in April, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced on Thursday morning that the Gopher State’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell by 0.1 percentage points to 8.1 percent. The slight employment...

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...

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...

Wisconsin Unemployment Rate Eclipses Minnesota for First Time Since Summer 2007

For those wondering why Wisconsin’s evaluation of the job performance of President Barack Obama, its Governor, Jim Doyle, and its U.S. Senators, Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, has been quite critical in recent months, one may only need to stop and consider the record-setting trend in unemployment the Badger State...

Minnesota Unemployment Rate Slows to Smallest Increase Since September

Although Minnesota’s new March unemployment numbers, released this morning by the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development, are the highest since May 1983, the 8.2 percent seasonally adjusted rate marks the slowest rate of decline in jobs in the Gopher State in half a year. Jobless claims rose from...

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...

Minneapolis Crime Rates Continue to Fall as Unemployment Rises

As unemployment rises month-by-month in Minneapolis, along with the rest of the Gopher State, serious violent and property crimes continue to fall in Minnesota's most populated city at an impressive rate. Minneapolis' non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate hit 7.1 percent in February - its highest rate in decades. However, even though...

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...

December 2013? July 2016? Estimating When Unemployment Will Return to Pre-Recession Levels in Minnesota

Governor Tim Pawlenty and State Economist Tom Stinson have frequently declared that Minnesota is in its worst recession since World War II. If that is the case, how long will it take to return to the halcyon days of a thriving Minnesota economy, with unemployment returning to its pre-recession levels...

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...

Radio Host Mike Gallagher Blames Failure to Sell His House on Obama and Congressional Democrats

Nationally syndicated conservative radio talk show host Mike Gallagher lamented this morning that his failure to sell his own house, that he recently placed on the market, was due to the psychological effects burdening the wealthy resulting from the class warfare propagated by President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats. Gallagher...

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...

Breaking News Analysis: Minnesota's January Unemployment Numbers Set State Records

Every month Smart Politics writes a new analysis on the latest dire unemployment numbers released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), and each month our analysis unearths new trends behind the numbers that document why the current economic trend is the worst in generations. January’s seasonally...

No Excuses? Minnesota's Unemployment Rate Less Tied to National Economy Than That of Wisconsin and Iowa

As December’s unemployment numbers demonstrate, Minnesota continues to endure a skyrocketing rate of job losses, especially when compared to its neighbors to the south and west. To the west, North Dakota and South Dakota have the second and third lowest unemployment rates in the nation, at 3.5 percent and 3.9...

How Bad Are Things In Minnesota, Really?

From the rising unemployment numbers to the state budget crisis, the news in Minnesota seems to be getting worse and worse. Adding insult to injury came the recent news last week that Minneapolis ranked as the fourth least desirable metropolitan area to where Americans would like to move out of...

How Long Will It Take to Regain the 65,000+ Jobs Lost in Minnesota in 2008?

The near universal legislative support of the unemployment bill signed into law on Thursday by Governor Tim Pawlenty is a first step by the state to address an economic and employment crisis that is escalating at record levels in Minnesota. The bill will extend the unemployment benefits of more than...

Minnesota Endures Worst Employment Skid in 30+ Years

Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate now stands at 6.9 percent, according to new December 2008 numbers released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The data continues what, by many measures, are the worst statewide jobless numbers since the collection of monthly data by the Department began in...



Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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