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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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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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