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Duluth/Iron Range high on job loss list

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.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by david granneman on 10/05/2009 - 10:37 am.

    hello all
    i have a solution to Duluth/Iron Range high jobless problems. two large oil fields have been discovered in north dakota and montana – possibly more oil then in the middle east. how can minnesota profit from oil in north dakota. minnesota should eliminate environmental laws to allow private investers to build oil refineries in northern minnesota. oil could be pumped by pipeline or trucked from north dakota and the canadian oil sands. the oil could be refined into gas and oil and pumped to suppliers. this would not only ensure minnesota has cheap and abundant energy but also create thousands of high paying jobs. it would create all kinds of jobs everything from truck drivers to doctors. where there is energy developement there is growth and prosperity. there is no recession or deficits in texas. texas is creating jobs and has a budget surplus. minnesota could be the texas of the north. northern minnesota could be changed from a depressed area to a place where children could remain where they grew up and raise a family, instead of having to leave home and go to more prosperous areas to find a job. LET US NOT LET ALL THE WEALTH IN NORTH DAKOTA TO SLIP THRU OUR FINGERS.

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