Unemployment rate lowest since fire at Farmland

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Unemployment in Freeborn County showed a sharp drop in April, and was even with the state average for the first time since the Farmland fire in July last year. But specialists say the data does not necessarily mean the economy has escaped turmoil.

According to the Minnesota Workforce Center, unemployment was at 4.5 percent in Freeborn County in April, down .7 percent from March. The state average was also 4.5 percent, down .3 percent.

Minnesota Department of Economic Security Commissioner Earl Wilson said in a press release that this movement is statistically insignificant and reflects the volatility that can occur from month to month.

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Curt Schoenrock, Program Specialist in the Freeborn County office of the Workforce Center, agreed with the analysis, despite the larger drop in the county.

“This could be a swing we usually observe this season every year,” Schoenrock said. Typically, the unemployment rate shows a .4 to .5 percent improvement between March and April because of increased job openings. And, this year’s larger figure could be just a result of higher unemployment in previous months, he said.

Meanwhile, the workforce center started sending letters with instructions to displaced workers who are eligible for a 13-week extension of state unemployment benefits.

The extension, approved by the state legislature this year, covers unemployed workers from Farmland Foods, airline industries and Fingerhut as well as those who do not meet the eligibility criteria for federal temporary extended unemployment compensation.

More information about the extended unemployment benefits is available by phone at (651) 284-3033 or toll free at 1(877) 504-5050.