Duluth's jobless rate ticks up in DecemberDuluth’s unemployment rate rose slightly in December, part of a typical winter increase as seasonal layoffs continued.
By: Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune
Duluth’s unemployment rate rose slightly in December, part of a typical winter increase as seasonal layoffs continued.
The city’s jobless rate reached 5.8 percent, up from 5.6 percent in November, according to state data released this week. That’s not only better than the 5.9 percent in December 2011; it’s the lowest December since 2007, when unemployment was 4.8 percent, noted Julie Collins, regional analyst for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
“Unemployment in the region is continuing to improve,” she said, “but rates aren’t yet back down to their pre-recession levels.”
The larger Twin Ports area — including St. Louis, Carlton and Douglas counties — saw a bigger increase. Unemployment increased from 6.1 percent in November to 6.5 percent in December as the number of additional people on unemployment outpaced the growth in jobs and the labor force.
Northeastern Minnesota saw a similar percentage increase, with rates rising from 6.5 percent in November to 6.9 percent in December.
These seasonally unadjusted rates in Duluth and throughout much of the Northland, however, continue to better those of a year ago as jobs grow and the economy slowly recovers.
Since December 2011, the greater Duluth area has gained 2,700 jobs. That 2.1 percent increase is the best rate of growth since early 2006 for the Twin Ports area, Collins said. It’s also better than the percentage increase in jobs statewide and nationwide in the last year, she said.
From December 2011 to December 2012, mining, logging and construction was the fastest-growing industry sector in the larger Twin Ports area with a 4.5 percent increase. Leisure and hospitality grew 4 percent, after over-the-year negative growth turned positive in October. Education and health services grew 3.1 percent while government jobs grew 3 percent and private employment grew nearly 2 percent.
Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development