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Unemployment rates: MN a little better than average

Unemployment rates: MN a little better than average
By Eric Black

The Economic Policy Institute looked inside the end-of-September state-by-state unemployment numbers just released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The whole picture is unsurprisingly pretty grim, but Minnesota was among the slightly less-afflicted.

The national unemployment rate was 9.8%, up a titch from 9.7 at the end of August.

The MN unemployment rate at the end of September was 7.3%, down from 8%.

24 states had higher rates in September than in August, so MN was one of the 26 that showed an improvement.

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Industrial states and states that were relying on building booms for their jobs before the recession were the worst off. Michigan had the highest rate (15.3%), followed by Nevada 13.3, Rhode Island 13.0 and California, 12.2.  Fourteen states plus the District of Columbia had double-digit rates.

Our neighbors, North Dakota (4.2%) and South Dakota (4.8) led the nation on the good side. In general, farm states had the lowest unemployment rates.

EPI also did a look back to the beginning of the recession (December 2007) and found that nationwide, 5.2% of all the jobs that existed then have gone away. Minnesota was a slightly better-than-average 4.8%. The worst-off state in percentage of all jobs lost was Arizona, which has now lost 10% of its pre-recession jobs. EPI said this double-digit shrinkage of jobs in any state has happened only once before over the past four recessions. Michigan was close behind with a 9.8% shrinkage and, as of the end of September, still shedding jobs in September, altough at a very slow rate.

At the other end of the spectrum, North Dakota and Alaska have actually added jobs since December 2007.

The EPI charts displaying all this data are here and here.