According to the Minnesota Department of Economic Development, the unemployment rate for the State of Minnesota ticked up slightly in February 2012 to 5.7%. This is nonetheless a substantial improvement above a year ago when the rate was at 6.7%, and far better yet from the recent recession-high of 8.3% during the summer of 2009. Though the numbers are much better, they’re still off of the pre-recession rates like much of the rest of the United States. More Minnesotans are without work than before the recession, and there’s still some recovery to be had.
By industry (non-farm), most sectors in Minnesota have seen some job gains in February with a total estimate of 6,200 jobs gained. The private sector, in which much of the focus is on in Washington DC, added 3,700 of those jobs. Private sector jobs are usually viewed as more representative of the health of the economic climate and job growth since companies (i.e. not governments) created the jobs because of financial circumstances inside the company. Government (state, federal, local) added approximately 2,500 jobs in Minnesota in February.
Overall, the downward trend in state unemployment rates that began in late-2009 has continued, throughout much of the state. Outstate places, unfortunately, such as Brainerd, Grand Rapids, and Bemidji, still have a higher overall rate in February in comparison to the Twin Cities Metro Area. The higher than state average unemployment in these cities isn’t new, however they don’t appear to be experiencing the same overall recovery that the Twin Cities are. The unemployment rates in these cities is often over 10%, where the major cities in the Twin Cities Metro Area (e.g. Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington) are much closer to 5% and have seen the recent downward trends.
When compared to other states in the Midwest, Minnesota is has one of the best unemployment rates in February. Only three other states (North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska) have better unemployment rates, but with far less total population. Compared to the nation altogether, Minnesota’s unemployment rate is also among the best, when compared with a US rate of 8.3% in February 2012.
The March 2012 updates will be posted soon as well see if Minnesota goes on to keep ahead of the nation. Moreover, formerly released numbers are often adjusted, so the February 2012 number could change (slightly) too. If the overall trends maintain, we can hope that the state’s unemployment rate will go on working it’s way back to pre-recession numbers.