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Minnesota Unemployment Numbers and Trends at a Glance

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Gopher State job data trend lines generally favorable compared to the nation and the Upper Midwest region

The new seasonally adjusted unemployment numbers released last week by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development may have been flat - remaining at 6.8 percent for the second consecutive month - but the trend in the Gopher State's jobs situation continues to have a comparatively rosier outlook than the nation as a whole.

Here are some Minnesota employment facts at a glance:

Fact #1. The jobless rate has not increased in Minnesota for 14 consecutive months - the seventh longest streak over the past 34 1/2 years dating back to 1976.

The unemployment rate has fallen from 8.4 percent in June 2009 to 6.8 percent in July 2010, or a 19.0 percent decline.

Previous streaks include:

· A 22-month streak from October 1976 through July 1978 (falling from 5.9 to 3.9 percent)
· A 29-month streak from January 1983 through May 1985 (falling from 9.0 to 5.8 percent)
· A 30-month streak from January 1986 through June 1988 (falling from 6.1 to 4.3 percent)
· A 32-month streak from April 1993 through November 1996 (falling from 5.1 to 3.7 percent)
· A 25-month streak from May 1996 through May 1998 (falling from 4.0 to 2.6 percent)
· A 26-month streak from July 2003 through August 2005 (falling from 5.0 to 4.0 percent)

Of course, in order for rates to fall or stagnate for such a long period of time, they usually have to begin at a high level. And while seasonally adjusted jobs data does not account for those individuals who have stopped looking for work, falling or stagnating jobless numbers are obviously still better than rising numbers.

Fact #2. The 6.8 percent unemployment rate in Minnesota is just 71.6 percent that of the national average of 9.5 percent for the second straight month. This marks the lowest relative rate of unemployment in the Gopher State compared to the nation as a whole in more than 10 years.

In February 2000, Minnesota's 2.8 percent rate was 68.3 percent of the national rate of 4.1 percent.

By comparison, in March 2007, Minnesota's unemployment rate (4.5 percent) was 102.3 percent the national rate (4.4 percent) .

Overall, Minnesota's unemployment rate is tied with Iowa for the 9th lowest in the nation and 5th lowest in the 12-state Midwest region (behind North Dakota (3.6 percent), South Dakota (4.4 percent), Nebraska (4.7 percent), and Kansas (6.5 percent)).

Fact #3. The 6.8 percent unemployment rate in Minnesota is now equal to that of its neighbor to the south, Iowa, for the first time since November 2005.

The jobless rate in Minnesota has only been equal to or lower than that of the Hawkeye State for 19 of the last 135 months dating back to May 1999.

Overall, Minneosta's rate has been lower than that of Iowa for 131 of the last 415 months dating back to January 1976 (31.6 percent), higher for 265 months (63.9 percent), and the same for 19 months (4.6 percent).

Fact #4. After a string of 18 months in which Minnesota's jobless rate was equal to or higher than that of its neighbor to the east (September 2007-February 2009), the Gopher State's rate has now been lower than that of Wisconsin for 17 consecutive months.

Wisconsin's July 2010 unemployment numbers came in at 7.8 percent.

Overall, Minnesota's unemployment rate has been lower than that of Wisconsin for 292 of the last 415 months (70.4 percent), higher for 105 months (25.3 percent), and the same for 18 months (4.3 percent).

Fact #5. Of course, the employment news is less rosy for Minnesota compared to its neighbors to the west, where North Dakota (3.6 percent) and South Dakota (4.4 percent) continue to have the two lowest jobless rates in the nation.

Minnesota's unemployment rate has not been equal to or lower than that of South Dakota since June 1999 and North Dakota since April 2000.

Overall, Minnesota's jobless rate has been lower than that of South Dakota for just 18 of the past 415 months (4.3 percent), higher for 332 months (94.7 percent), and the same for four months (1.0 percent).

The Gopher State's rate has been lower than that of North Dakota for 73 of the last 415 months (17.6 percent), higher for 332 months (80.0 percent), and the same for 10 months (2.4 percent).

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2 Comments


  • The decline from 8.4 to 6.8 really sets the direction we are heading, not only for Minnesota but as a nation. Overall the statistics are impressive and I think allow for optimism. Lets hope they continue in this course as we are pulling out of the recession.

  • The method used for these statistics do not count the 99ers. (Those who ran out of unemployment insurance). Construction trades are at an all time high for unemployment and with winter nearing, even more in the trdes will be laid off. Last figures I saw were over thirty percent in construction were laid off and no one had an accurate number of those furloughed. Us 99ers are those they speak of "no longer looking for work". That is pure BS! I really would like to see the real numbers for this state, yet how are they to know when we no longer report weekly because we were cut off and so how can they count us? Lets see the realistic numbers of those still unemployed! Its all smoke and mirrors like typical government BS. Keep the masses in the dark and let no one realize just how bad it really is here in MN. Show us the jobs created for the numbers to decrease as they quote.

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