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Jobless rate drops to lowest in 6 years

The unemployment rate in Albert Lea dropped last month to its lowest level in six years. Decreasing jobless figures are happening statewide.

Albert Lea’s jobless rate was 4.9 percent in October, the lowest it’s been since it was 4.9 percent in October 2007, according to data the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development released last week. Even then, October 2007 had the best numbers for that year, which generally hovered in the 5.5 percent neighborhood, but with January 2007 hitting 7.5 percent, though most economists say the Great Recession began in December 2007.

The last time the rate was lower than 4.9 percent was 4.6 in October 2006.

The average for the past 12 months was 5.9 percent, not seasonally adjusted.

Minnesota’s unemployment rate, which is seasonally adjusted, dropped to 4.8 percent for the first time in nearly six years as the state climbs further out of the deep hole caused by the Great Recession. That’s the same as it was in December 2007, which is generally considered to be the month that the long recession started.

It was three months after that, in March 2008, that Minnesota unemployment jumped above 5 percent and stayed there until last month. It hit a peak of 8.3 percent in April, May and June of 2009, and has been slowly creeping downward since then.

In Albert Lea, the labor force in October was 9,328 people, with 8,872 employed, according to the report. It stated 456 were actively seeking work.

The October unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in Austin, 5 in Waseca, 4.5 in Winona, 4.3 in Fairmont, 4 in Owatonna, 3.7 in Mankato and 3.6 in Rochester.

The state released figures for September and October last Thursday. The September figures had been delayed by the federal government shutdown. Minnesota’s unemployment fell from 5.1 percent in August to 5 percent in September to 4.8 percent in October. In Albert Lea, the rate was 5.3 percent in September, down from 5.7 in September 2012.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.

AT.02.28.A

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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