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Rochester jobless rate rises in January

The jobless rate in the Rochester metropolitan area saw a typical increase in January, rising to 6.2 percent from 5.5 percent in December, according to newly released figures from the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

But the rate remained below the Minnesota jobless rate of 7.5 percent and the U.S. rate of 9.8 percent in January. It also is lower than a year earlier, when it was 6.7 percent.

"The figures indicate a slow but steady improvement in the Minnesota labor market," said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips."While the economy continues to face headwinds, we’re seeing a number of positive signs, including growth in temp-help hiring, rising consumer confidence and declining initial claims for unemployment benefits."

In the 11-county southeastern Minnesota region, the rate was 7.1 percent. The highest rates were in the rural counties that have a lot of agricultural and food production, led by Houston County with 9.6 percent jobless rate.

Statewide during January, the biggest gains statewide came in education and health services and leisure and hospitality, while job losses occurred in trade, transportation and utilities and government.

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