Unemployment falls to 5.8 percent

Published 9:48 am Friday, October 19, 2012

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s unemployment rate remains a full two percentage points better than the national average.

Figures for September show the seasonally adjusted jobless rate for Minnesota fell to 5.8 percent, a tick lower than August. The national rate for the month was 7.8 percent.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development said Thursday that employers added a net 5,900 jobs last month. Figures for August were also revised upward to reflect a less severe drop-off that month. Over the past year, officials say there has been a growth of 34,700 net jobs.

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Education and health services were the big gainers and the leisure and hospitality sector was also strong. Government entities, manufacturers and information sectors reported job losses.

Freeborn County’s unemployment rate in August was 5.7 percent. September data was not yet available, according to the Department of Employment and Economic Development.


Dayton promotes trade chief

to lead economic agency

Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday appointed the director of the state Trade Office, who also worked on his 2010 campaign, as the new commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Katie Clark will lead the 1,500-employee agency that promotes economic and workforce development, fosters international trade and administers programs to laid-off workers.

Clark replaces Mark Phillips, who is leaving for an undisclosed private sector opportunity. Dayton’s chief of staff, Tina Smith, said it was Phillips’ decision to pursue the new opportunity but did not have details on where he’s going.

A veteran of former Gov. Rudy Perpich’s administration, Phillips had been working for a construction firm when Dayton appointed him in early 2011.

Clark, 31, was finance director for Dayton’s campaign for governor. She previously worked in business development and recruitment for Target Corporation and also for a wind energy startup. Dayton himself once led the Department of Employment and Economic Development under Perpich, and Smith noted that the governor like Clark was 31 years old when he first took the job.

Clark said Dayton has made it clear that the agency’s top priority is making sure Minnesotans have jobs. She said the agency is well-run but that an early focus would be analyzing its programs to make sure they’re effective.