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Minnesota and South Dakota Unemployment Rates Rise; Wisconsin Remains Flat

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After three consecutive months of a declining percentage of Minnesotans filing unemployment claims, the Gopher State's seasonally adjusted jobless rate increased to 7.6 percent in October - up from 7.4 percent in September.

Unemployment in Minnesota has increased 35.7 percent from one year ago (5.6 percent) but is currently 2.6 points lower than the national average of 10.2 percent.

The 2.6-point differential is the largest for Minnesota vis-à-vis the national average in more than 17 years (July 1992).

Across the Upper Midwest, the jobless situation continues to be less dire than when compared to the nation as a whole.

The jobless rate did increase 0.2 points in South Dakota as well - from 4.8 percent in September to 5.0 percent in October. Unemployment is up 56.3 percent in South Dakota for the year.

But South Dakota's unemployment rate is now 5.2 points lower than the national average - the largest differential on record according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data going back to January 1976.

In Wisconsin, unemployment remained flat from September to October at 8.4 percent. Unemployment has risen more quickly in Wisconsin than in any other Upper Midwestern state during the past year, where it is has increased 71.4 percent from October 2008 (4.9 percent).

Wisconsin's jobless rate is 1.8 points lower than that of the national average - the largest such difference since December 1996.

Unemployment data for the month of October will be released in Iowa and North Dakota during the next few days.

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73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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