Duluth-Superior and the Iron Range have the dubious honor of losing the second-highest percentage of jobs over the past year in mining, construction and logging, a new report says.
The report from Associated General Contractors of America says Carlton, Douglas and St. Louis counties suffered a 33 percent decline in employment in those three sectors from August 2008 to August 2009, said the Duluth News Tribune.
The paper said only Reno-Sparks, Nev., suffered a steeper decline with a 35 percent loss, the association said.
Of the 337 metropolitan areas analyzed, 324 lost jobs. The association, using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, said about 1 million jobs were lost nationwide in those industries during the period.
The bulk of the job losses in the Duluth-Superior metro area were in mining and logging on the Iron Range, said Drew Digby, regional labor analyst with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The number of miners collecting unemployment skyrocketed from 300 in January to more than 2,000 in June, he said. About 1,000 miners collected unemployment benefits in August, DEED numbers show.
There’s been better news lately:
Employees returned to work this week at Minorca Mine in Virginia after a five-month shutdown. All 290 employees were back on the job Thursday, said David Zasadni, vice president of United Steelworkers Local 6115.
And five of the six Iron Range taconite companies are recalling workers, said Craig Pagel, president of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota. The lone exception is Hibbing Taconite Co.