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One in 10 jobless in Twin Ports

Unemployment in the Twin Ports area ticked into double-digits in March. One in 10 workers living in St. Louis, Douglas and Carlton counties was out of a job in March, according to statistics posted today by the Minnesota Department of Employment ...

Unemployment in the Twin Ports area ticked into double-digits in March. One in 10 workers living in St. Louis, Douglas and Carlton counties was out of a job in March, according to statistics posted today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Despite 10 percent unemployment in the three-county Duluth-Superior metropolitan statistical area, there are still some encouraging signs, according to Drew Digby, a regional labor analyst for DEED.

He noted that more job openings are being posted. As of last week, he said regional job listings were running about 30 percent ahead of January. And Digby said many of the recent openings have been for jobs offering better-than-normal pay.

Digby also observed that the total number of people employed in the seven-county Arrowhead region actually grew by 101 to 150,959 in March. However, the number of people in the regional work force grew by more than 500 in March, causing the Arrowhead's unemployment rate to grow from 10.5 to 10.7 percent.

Although jobs remain in short supply, there has been no exodus of people from the Twin Ports. In fact, the labor force in the Duluth-Superior metropolitan statistical area has grown by 972 people between March of this year and last.

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"More people are sticking around because they think their chances of finding work are better here than elsewhere," Digby said.

To put the local 10 percent unemployment rate in perspective, Minnesota reported 8.9 percent unemployment, and nationwide unemployment was running at 9 percent in March. None of these rates are seasonally adjusted.

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