Unemployment rate rises in Mower County
By Mike Klein
The jobless rate continues to creep up in southeastern Minnesota, hitting 8.4 percent in March, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
That’s up from 8.2 percent in February and 5.2 percent a year ago.
Mower County’s rate was 7.5 percent, up from 7.3 percent in February and 4.8 percent in March 2008.
The big test will be whether the rate drops in April, as it traditionally does as seasonal business picks up in the spring. Some recent reports indicate that the recession has been easing.
Olmsted had the lowest jobless rate in the region at 6.8 percent, and Fillmore was highest at 10.7 percent. Every area county had a slight increase from February.
The rate was the highest for the southeast region since at least 1990, which is as far back as regional DEED jobless statistics are available. Countywide rates are available since 1980, and some jobless rates in the early 1980s were comparable. For instance, Olmsted’s rate is the highest since it hit 7.1 percent in February of 1983.
State employers eliminated 23,200 jobs in March, compared with the loss of 663,000 jobs nationwide during the month.
"This is a broad-based recession that is affecting nearly every state and every sector of the economy," said DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy. "But we are seeing signs that the economy might be improving nationally, including increasing orders for manufactured goods in February, a slight uptick in consumer confidence in March and stronger sales for existing homes."