Unemployment rate stays same in Aug.

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The unemployment rate in Freeborn County remained flat during August, according to new data released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

At 7.8 percent, the rate is lower than the same month in 2009 when the rate was 8.5 percent. The data is not seasonally adjusted.

According to the numbers, there was a labor force of 16,014 people in the county during August, and out of that number 14,772 were employed and 1,242 were unemployed.

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“Unemployed” means people not employed but who are available for work and actively looking during the last four weeks, those who are waiting to be called back to a job from which they were laid off, or people waiting to report to a new job.

In July the unemployment rate was also 7.8 percent; in June it was 7.4 percent, 7.1 in May, 7.7 in April and 8.6 in March. It was at 8.7 percent in both January and February.

Albert Lea Economic Development Agency Executive Director Dan Dorman said while he certainly wishes the unemployment rate is lower, he is glad it appears to be relatively stable.

Dorman said within the past few weeks his agency has had three leads from the state to respond to for potential development opportunities.

He said another component to understanding the unemployment numbers is whether there have been any new jobs added, Dorman said.

He also pointed out that on the state level, the unemployment rate increased from 6.9 to 7 percent; however, the number of jobs available also increased, Dorman said.

According to the data, several nearby counties saw slight decreases in unemployment rates, including Faribault and Steele counties.

According to the data, Faribault County’s unemployment rate decreased by one-tenth of a percentage point, from 8 percent unemployment to 7.9 percent. In this county there was a labor force of 7,312, of which 578 were unemployed.

In Steele County, the unemployment rate decreased from 7.7 percent to 7.6 percent. There were 19,881 people in the labor force, of which 1,511 were unemployed.

Mower County saw a one-tenth of a percentage point increase, going from 5.7 percent unemployment in July to 5.8 percent in August.

In the statistics, employed people refers to those 16 or older, who in the survey week, worked for pay or profit, worked unpaid in a family-operated business, or were temporarily absent from their regular jobs.