Local jobless rate drops in October

The jobless rate in the Rochester metropolitan area dropped to 5.3 percent in October, down from 5.4 percent in September and 5.9 percent a year ago, according to numbers released Monday by the state Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The metro area, consisting of Olmsted, Dodge and Wabasha counties, had 5,667 people out of work in October, the lowest number since December 2008.

During the recent recession, the number of jobless in the metropolitan area peaked at 7,833 in March 2009.

Throughout southeastern Minnesota, Olmsted County had the lowest jobless rate, at 5.3 percent.

But the biggest improvement since a year ago came in Wabasha and Fillmore counties, both down a full percentage point.


The Minnesota jobless rate in October was 6.4 percent, and the national jobless rate was 9 percent.

"Minnesota employers have added jobs at triple the pace of the U.S. rate in the past year, and lead the national rate of growth in eight of 11 industry sectors," said DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy. "I am encouraged by these signs, indicating that Minnesota is recovering from the economic downturn."

The Rochester metro, consisting of Olmsted, Dodge and Wabasha counties, continues to have the lowest jobless rate of the state's five main metropolitan areas. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Duluth-Superior, St. Cloud and Mankato make up the other four.

McElroy also noted that employment in the temporary help sector, a leading indicator, continues to grow and has returned to pre-recession levels.

Professional and business services led all sectors in October, adding 6,500 jobs. Other gains occurred in transportation and utilities (up 3,900), other services (up 2,900), leisure and hospitality (up 2,300), education and health services (up 2,000), government (up 500), financial activities (up 300), mining and logging (up 200), and information (up 100).

The construction and manufacturing sectors each lost 2,300 jobs in October.

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