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Boreal Community Media

Northeastern Minnesota. jobless rate up slightly in May, Cook County declines

Jun 24, 2020 05:55AM ● By Editor

By Jon Ellis of WDIO-TV- June 24, 2020

Joblessness in northeastern Minnesota ticked upward slightly in May to reach the highest level seen since 1994, according to statistics released Tuesday by the state Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The unemployment rate for the seven-county northeastern region was 11.3% in May, up slightly from 10.7% in April. The statistical region includes Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, and St. Louis counties.

The 11.3% rate ties the rate recorded in January 1994 and is one-tenth of a point behind January 1993, which had the highest monthly regional rate in the past three decades. (Online state records go back to 1990.)

The number of unemployed in the seven-county northeastern region rose to 13,186 in May, an increase of more than 800 people since April. That's more than twice as many people as were unemployed one year earlier.

A separate statistic for the Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Statistical Area showed an increase in unemployment from 12.3% in April to 12.6% in May. The MSA includes all of Carlton and St. Louis counties in Minnesota and Douglas County, Wisconsin.

Local Wisconsin jobless statistics for May are scheduled to be released on Wednesday.

Looking more closely at the Minnesota numbers, some regional counties and cities saw slight increases in unemployment rates over the month while others saw slight declines.  There appeared to be some regional grouping in the statistics:

  • Slight increases in unemployment were reported in St. Louis, Lake, and Carlton counties, and in the cities of Cloquet, Duluth, Hibbing, and Virginia.
  • Slight declines in unemployment were seen in north-central Minnesota counties and in the city of Grand Rapids.

Hibbing reported the highest unemployment rate in the region in May, at 14.5%. Koochiching County's rate of 9.1% was the lowest in the seven-county northeastern region, and adjacent areas of north-central Minnesota saw lower rates.

Local unemployment rates are not adjusted for normal seasonal variations.

County unemployment rates for May 2020:
Aitkin Co. 10.2% (down from April)
Beltrami Co. 8.1% (down)
Carlton Co. 11.1% (up from April)
Cass Co. 11.4% (down)
Cook Co. 12.7% (down)
Crow Wing Co. 9.5% (down)
Itasca Co. 11.3% (down)
Koochiching Co. 9.1% (down)
Lake Co. 11.7% (up)
Pine Co. 11.3% (down)
St. Louis Co. 11.6% (up)

City unemployment rates for May 2020:
Bemidji 8.8% (down from April)
Brainerd 13.8%  (down)
Cloquet 13.2% (up from April)
Duluth 11.6% (up)
Grand Rapids 10.8% (down)
Hibbing 14.5% (up)
Virginia 12.3% (up)


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