The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

November 21, 2013

Local employment up in Oct., flat in Sept.

MANKATO — After delays caused by the federal government shutdown, state officials Thursday released two months of labor statistics, showing the Mankato area had no job gains in September and a 0.9 percent increase in October, year-over-year.

Meanwhile, the state hit a six-year low in its unemployment rate.

Blue Earth and Nicollet counties had a total of 55,029 jobs in October, up 516 from last year, according to data from the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

In September the region added virtually no jobs compared to a year earlier.

The local area has added 1,700 jobs over the past year, a growth rate of 3.3 percent. That's nearly double the growth rate seen on the statewide and national levels this year.

Locally, both the private sector and government had the same percentage job growth in October.

The average number of hours worked in October remained unchanged from a year earlier at 32.1 hours. The average wages earned per hour, however, fell 22 cents to $21.38 in October.

The nearly 1 percent jobs increase locally was less than half of the job gains made statewide in October. Mankato's increase was less than in St. Cloud but more than in Rochester and Duluth.

The state unemployment rate in October was at 4.8 percent, its lowest level since January 2008. Local unemployment rates will be released by the state later.

Statewide, employers shed 8,700 jobs in September and added 9,900 in October.

“Minnesota’s unemployment rate has fallen to the lowest level in nearly six years, which highlights the continued strength of the labor market,” Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, said in a statement. “Not only does the state have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, but we’re also adding jobs, an indicator of a growing economy on the right track.”

The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.3 percent in October.

The state has added nearly 50,000 jobs over the past year, a growth rate of 1.8 percent compared with a U.S. growth rate of 1.7 percent.

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