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State jobless rates drop, but Minnesota labor force shrinks

State jobless rates drop, but Minnesota labor force shrinks Photo: WDIO/MGN

Created: October 15, 2020 02:08 PM

New state employment numbers released Thursday offer good news and bad news: unemployment rates are dropping in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, but the overall size of Minnesota's labor force is shrinking.

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The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rates for September were 6% in Minnesota and 5.4% in Wisconsin, compared with 7.9% nationally.

However, the Minnesota Department of Employment Development cautioned that Minnesota's falling unemployment rate was partly caused by a decline in the labor force participation rate, meaning fewer people are seeing work. Wisconsin's labor force participation rate rose over the same period.

DEED Commissioner Steve Grove encouraged out-of-work Minnesotans not to give up their job searches.

"We want people to know that Minnesota employers are hiring now – and many of the jobs being hired for now offer good-paying, steady employment in manufacturing, health care and other fields that offer a career ladder up," Grove said in a news release.

Private-sector employers added 21,000 jobs in Minnesota and 13,700 jobs in Wisconsin during the month of September.

Still, the states have a long way to go to recover from the economic downturn: The overall number of jobs, both private-sector and government, is down 203,521 in Minnesota and 191,300 in Wisconsin over the year. The Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Statistical Area is down 11,862 jobs over the year, showing the greatest percentage drop among Minnesota metro areas.

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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