The Free Press, Mankato, MN


July 5, 2014

Jobless rates low locally, in state

Thumbs up to the people who make Minnesota and Mankato’s economy keep pace with the number of workers needing jobs.

Minnesota and Mankato’s unemployment rates are some of the lowest in the country. The Twin Cities jobless rate was ranked lowest in the country in the most recent report.

The state Department of Employment and Economic Development reports a mix of job growth has left the Twin Cities with a 4 percent unemployment rate, lowest of any large metropolitan area in the country.

The rate has fallen from 5 percent in February. An economy that has robust health care and medical industries as well as one where construction is booming is helping drive the job creation, according to economic experts.

The Mankato/North Mankato metropolitan statistical area is no different. The area’s unemployment rate is an astounding 3.4 percent.

The state unemployment rate is 4.6 percent, the lowest in 7 years.

One can debate how jobs are created via private sector activity alone or a business environment created by elected leaders, but either way, Minnesota is doing pretty well.

Howard shines at World Cup

Thumbs up to Tim Howard’s soccer heroics in the World Cup.

The U.S. team was eliminated Tuesday in the round of 16, and while the team can be pleased about having advanced out of pool play despite a difficult draw, their games against Germany and Belgium demonstrated how much of a gap still exists between the Americans and the elite soccer nations.

Howard, however, comes mighty close to evening that gap. In Tuesday’s knockout game, the 35-year-old goaltender racked up 16 saves, many of eye-popping difficulty, to keep the Yanks in the game against Belgium. Howard set a Cup record for saves in that game (the previous record of 13 was set in 1978). It is quite likely that the goalie whose team wins the Cup won’t have 16 saves in the entire tournament.

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