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Mower County jobless rate rises in January

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The jobless rate in the Mower County saw a typical increase in January, rising to 6.1 percent from 5.6 percent in December, according to newly released figures from the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

There were 1,293 people unemployed, the most since March of 2010; and 19,928 people employed, DEED said.

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 the Mower County rate a year earlier, of 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. They were hit with seasonal job losses.

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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.

Minnesota employers added 2,000 jobs during the month. Over the past year, the state has gained 16,500 jobs, for a growth rate of 0.6 percent. The U.S. growth rate during that period was 0.7 percent.

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