Unemployment rate drops in the Northland
By: Duluth News Tribune, Superior Telegram
After a sharp rise in January, the region's unemployment slid back down to more-expected levels in February.
Duluth's unemployment rate dropped from 7.2 percent in January to 6.5 percent in February, according to data released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
The decrease was seen throughout the region, with fewer people on the unemployment rolls as jobs and the labor force grew.
Northeastern Minnesota reported 7.7 percent unemployment in February, down from 8.4 percent in January. In the greater Twin Ports region - which includes St. Louis, Carlton and Douglas counties - unemployment dropped from 8 percent in January to 7.4 percent in February.
While unemployment typically increases after the holidays, January jobless rates jumped to their highest levels since 2011 throughout much of the Northland. Experts blamed the tougher-than-usual January on economic uncertainty, a softened taconite industry and a less-than-stellar holiday shopping season as possible reasons.
But the local and regional numbers - which are not seasonally adjusted - also showed underlying positive trends for the coming months, likely leading to a better February.
Other areas of the state also showed January spikes in unemployment rates, followed by more typical drops in February, according to the state data.