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Duluth-area unemployment falls sharply in August

Unemployment rates fell sharply throughout Northeastern Minnesota in August while statewide rates held steady at 7.2 percent. The jobless rate for Duluth dropped from 8 percent in July to 7.4 percent in August, according to state data released Tu...

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Unemployment rates fell sharply throughout Northeastern Minnesota in August while statewide rates held steady at 7.2 percent.

The jobless rate for Duluth dropped from 8 percent in July to 7.4 percent in August, according to state data released Tuesday.

In Northeastern Minnesota as whole, the jobless rate dropped from 8.6 percent in July to 7.5 percent in August.

The return to work of laid off state employees coupled with job growth in the private sector caused the drops, experts say.

Most of the counties in Northeastern Minnesota showed drops of more than one percent, with the greatest decrease in Lake County, which fell from 7.1 percent to 5.5 percent, followed by Carlton County's drop from 8.8 percent to 7.5 percent.

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Job data for the Twin Ports area, which includes all of St. Louis, Carlton and Douglas counties, show that besides the returning government jobs, the area added 700 private sector jobs in August, according to Drew Digby, regional labor market analyst for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

"Those increases were divided across many sectors, including small monthly gains in manufacturing and professional and business services," Digby wrote in a summary.

"The jobs data also showed that the total number of government jobs in the region is down 3.5 percent from the same time last year, while the number of private sector jobs is up 3.7 percent in the same period," he said.

Regional unemployment rates*

Place/July 2011/August 2011

Duluth/ 8%/ 7.4%

Cloquet/ 10.1%/ 9%

Grand Rapids/ 12.6%/ 9.8%

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Hibbing/ 10.5%/ 9.3%

Virginia/ 12.5%/ 11.4%

St. Louis County/ 8.5%/ 7.4%

Twin Ports area/ 8.3%/ 7.4%

N.E. Minnesota/ 8.6%/ 7.5%

**Minnesota/7.2%/ 7.2%

**U.S./ 9.1%/9.1%

*Seasonally adjusted

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**Seasonally unadjusted

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