State jobless picture improving, so is the Northland's
Minnesota's unemployment rate improved slightly in April, dropping from 8.9 percent the previous month to 8.2 percent. It was the first time the state's unemployment rate had dropped since this time last year. The Duluth-area unemployment rate wa...
Minnesota's unemployment rate improved slightly in April, dropping from 8.9 percent the previous month to 8.2 percent.
It was the first time the state's unemployment rate had dropped since this time last year.
The Duluth-area unemployment rate wasn't available Thursday, but there are early signs it may show even stronger improvement than the state number, said Drew Digby, a labor analyst for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. He pointed out that the number of people employed in St. Louis, Carlton and Douglas counties increased 1 percent in April, a gain of 1,271 jobs from the prior month.
Statewide, there was a gain of 21,375 jobs during April, which equates to 0.8 percent more people working than in March.
While April is typically a stronger month for employment than March, Digby said the region saw a little better than the normal seasonal gain.
The Duluth area gained 987 jobs between March and April 2008, and it gained 452 jobs during the same period in 2007.
While there are glimmers of hope that the economy may be regaining its footing, the job situation is certainly bleaker than it was last year. In April, 3,154 fewer people were employed in St. Louis, Carlton and Douglas counties than during the same month a year ago. That's a job decline of 2.4 percent.
As of March, unemployment in the Twin Ports area was running at 10 percent.
Some of the hardest-hit sectors in the tri-county area include natural resources, construction and mining, where employment is off 19.6 percent from the past year; goods-producing jobs, which are off 16.1 percent; and manufacturing, which is down 12.8 percent.
Digby said "knowledge industry" jobs are showing signs of growth, however. He also found it encouraging that jobs in the transportation, warehouse and utilities category grew slightly. Digby said employment in that particular area often is considered a leading indicator of where the economy is headed.