Duluth-Superior area's jobless rate dips as tourist season gears up
The Twin Ports area job outlook brightened Tuesday with the release of local employment figures. The combined unemployment rate for St. Louis, Douglas and Carlton counties dipped to 9.5 percent in April -- down from a peak of 10 percent in March....
The Twin Ports area job outlook brightened Tuesday with the release of local employment figures.
The combined unemployment rate for St. Louis, Douglas and Carlton counties dipped to 9.5 percent in April -- down from a peak of 10 percent in March.
The improvement was expected.
"This is part of a seasonal uptick. It's a time of year when we start to really gain jobs," said Drew Digby, a regional labor analyst for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
"If the unemployment rate hadn't gone down, I would have been worried," he said.
As the Twin Ports geared up for tourists, employment in the local leisure and hospitality sector rose 4.4 percent between March and April.
More hiring lies ahead, said John Goldfine, president of ZMC Hotels.
"Our ramp-up comes in May for the most part. But we had a really strong April," he said.
Employment in the professional and business services sector rose 1 percent in April. "We've seen businesses such as architectural and engineering firms picking up activity. A lot of businesses that help other businesses save money have seen their services in demand," Digby said.
Educational and health employment rose 0.5 percent as more people sought retraining. "We've definitely seen an increase in applications. Our registrations are probably up 8 to 9 percent from last year," said David Dailey, dean of students for Mesabi Range Community and Technical College, with campuses in Virginia and Eveleth.
Employment in the mining sector was down 19.6 percent from April of last year. Digby suspects the situation probably will get worse before it gets better. "All the mine layoffs haven't been reflected in the data yet," he said.