October is tough for job-seekers

Jobless rates

County Oct. ‘08 Oct. 07

Dodge 4.3 3.5

Fillmore 5.5 4.7

Goodhue 5.3 4.2


Houston 4.8 4.0

Mower 4.4 3.6

Olmsted 4.4 3.3

Wabasha 4.3 3.5

Winona 4.5 3.6

By Mike Klein

Mower County had its highest October unemployment rate in at least 18 years, at 4.4 percent.


The Department of Employment and Economic Development reported 20,195 people had jobs and 931 were unemployed in the county during October.

October typically has one of the lowest unemployment rates of the year, as retailers start gearing up for the holiday shopping season.

This year, however, the 11-county southeastern Minnesota has an overall jobless rate of 4.8 percent, the highest rate for the month at least since the state started tracking county rates in 1990.

Statewide, retailers added the smallest number of jobs for an October on record, dating back to 1990, as economists are predicting a slow holiday shopping season.

The highest jobless rate in the southeastern region was Fillmore County, at 5.5 percent, followed by Goodhue County, at 5.3 percent. The lowest were Wabasha and Dodge counties, at 4.3 percent.

"The state and national economies continue to be tested by a broad slowdown that has hit many sectors," said DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy. "Despite the challenging job market, financial activities as well as education and health services continue to post surprisingly strong employment numbers in Minnesota."

The jobless rate in most area counties, not seasonally adjusted, was down slightly from September, which is typical.

The good news is that southeastern Minnesota is doing better than the rest of the state. Of the six planning regions, northeastern Minnesota has the highest rate at 6.4 percent, followed by central Minnesota, 5.7 percent; the Twin Cities metro area at 5.3 percent; northwestern Minnesota at 5.2 percent; southeastern Minnesota at 4.8 percent; and southwestern Minnesota at 4.6 percent.


Minnesota’s nonfarm economy lost 7,500 jobs in October, down 0.3 percent over the month on a seasonally adjusted basis. This is the fourth consecutive month of declines statewide. Seven of 11 major industry sectors lost jobs during the month.

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