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Jobless rate down from last year

Mower County's  jobless rate increased slightly from 6.1 percent in January to 6.2 percent in February, according to figures released this week by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

There were 19,901 employed people and 1,309 unemployed people in the county in February.

However, the local rate remained below the statewide rate of 7.4 percent and U.S. rate of 9.5 percent.

The long-term trend is also good for Mower County, having dropped from 6.4 percent in February 2010 and 7.2 percent in February 2009.

In southeastern Minnesota as a whole, the jobless rate was 7.1 percent in February, down from 7.7 percent a year ago.

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Among southeastern Minnesota counties in February, Olmsted had the lowest rate at 5.8 percent, with Mower close behind at 6.2 percent. The highest rate was 9.7 percent in Houston County, although that is down from 10.2 percent a year ago.

During the past year, Minnesota has gained about 19,600 jobs, for a growth rate of 0.8 percent. The U.S. growth rate during that same period was 1 percent. The Rochester metro area gained 700 jobs in that time, for a growth rate of 0.7 percent.

"While the recovery is progressing, we’re still seeing mixed results in the labor market," said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. "Manufacturing, in particular, has been a bright spot, adding another 2,400 jobs in February."

Along with manufacturing, other job gains occurred in February in professional and business services (up 1,200 statewide), construction (up 1,000), other services (up 800), government (up 100), and logging and mining (up 100).

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