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Unemployment rate down from last summer

Published 10:22am Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Freeborn County numbers are similar to the state’s

Freeborn County’s unemployment rate shifted to 4.5 percent in June from 4.3 in May,  according to data released this week by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

However, the rate is better than 4.6 in April, 5.6 in March, 5.8 in February and 6 in January. The June rate of 4.5 also is better than the 5.1 percent posted in June 2013, 6 percent in June 2012 and 6.9 in June 2011.

Freeborn County’s jobless rate was similar to Minnesota’s rate of 4.5 percent, which was down about a half-point from a year ago. That’s lower than the national rate for June of 6.1 percent. Steele County’s unemployment rate in June was 4.2 percent. Mower County was 3.8 percent, Olmsted County 3.9, Faribault County 5.3 and Waseca County 5.3.

State development officials said Minnesota gained 8,500 jobs in June, making a net gain of 10,700 this year. The state’s overall job growth rate in the past 12 months is on par with the national average of about 2 percent.

Economic development Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said the jobless state rate hasn’t been this low since February 2007. Sieben said jobless benefits claims dropped to their lowest level in almost 14 years.

DEED also released statistics for major Minnesota cities.

Albert Lea posted a jobless rate of 5 percent in June, up from 4.8 in May and 4.9 in April, but down from 6 in March, 6.3 in February and 6.6 in January. Albert Lea’s rate in June 2013 was 6 percent. In June 2012 it was 6.5, and in June 2011 it was 7.2

Warm months tend to have lower unemployment rates than cold months.

The worst month for unemployment in Albert Lea in the past 10 years was March 2009, when the jobless rate hit 11.3 percent. The worst month for unemployment in Freeborn County in the past 10 years was that same month, when it hit 9.8 percent.