Minnesota unemployment rate for vets is third highest

AFTERNOON EDITION

But did we say, “Thank you for your service”? The Strib’s Mark Brunswick lays out the, well, shameful story of Minnesota’s 23 percent unemployment rate for recent veterans: “There are an estimated 23,000 post-Sept. 11 veterans in Minnesota, with 5,000 of those unemployed in 2010, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee. Veterans of all ages in Minnesota had a jobless rate of 9.4 percent, compared with 8.7 percent for veterans in the United States. Minnesota officials are at a loss to explain the disparity for recent vets.”

Maybe the vets should consider moving to Duluth … or Brimson. The Duluth News Tribune is saying: “The jobless rate for Duluth dropped from 8 percent in July to 7.4 percent in August, according to state data released Tuesday. In Northeastern Minnesota as a whole, the jobless rate dropped from 8.6 percent in July to 7.5 percent in August. The return to work of laid-off state employees coupled with job growth in the private sector caused the drops, experts say. Most of the counties in Northeastern Minnesota showed drops of more than 1 percentage point, with the greatest decrease in Lake County, which fell from 7.1 percent to 5.5 percent, followed by Carlton County’s drop from 8.8 percent to 7.5 percent.”

On the theory, I guess, that less information is always better, the state GOP is after Gov. Dayton for actually using the $4.2 million in federal money to help set up the insurance exchanges necessary for the 2014 commencement of “Obamacare.” Elizabeth Stawicki of MPR writes: “The controversy surrounds state-based health insurance exchanges that will allow private businesses and individuals to compare and buy health insurance, in the same way someone can comparison shop for airline tickets. The program is set to start in 2014. Partisan political battles over how and whether exchanges should move forward have erupted in several states, including Minnesota. In August, State Commerce Commissioner Michael Rothman announced his department would receive $4.2 million in federal health care money to lay the groundwork for Minnesota’s health insurance exchange. At the time, he said the money would be used for setting up a panel of community advisors, choosing a chief financial officer, and creating designs. Days later, Republican state lawmakers held a news conference challenging the DFL governor’s authority to move ahead on an exchange without consulting the GOP controlled state legislature.” Because, you know, that particular consultation is always so productive.                                            

Not that they’ll be shutting the doors and turning off the lights, but General Mills has had better quarters. Mike Hughlett of the Strib reports: “General Mills Tuesday reported a 14.1 percent decline in net profits as the big Golden Valley-based food company was buffeted by significantly higher ingredient costs.”

Now here’s a solution to every state’s unemployment problem … encourage the jobless to leave. Wisconsin’s Scott Walker is defending his (state) website posting jobs … in Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. Scott Bauer’s AP story says: “More than 32,000 job openings were posted on the Job Center of Wisconsin’s website as of Tuesday, but about 18 percent of them were in Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan. It was unclear how many of those roughly 6,000 jobs could be filled through telecommuting, though many appeared to require on-site work. Walker ran on a promise to add 250,000 private sector jobs in the state by 2015, and the Republican repeatedly referenced the website — the state’s official jobs site — in his radio address last week as a place for Wisconsin’s unemployed to find jobs and quickly connect with employers.”

Related … Wisconsin’s GOP Attorney General has declined to cooperate in an investigation of irregularities involving Walker’s staff. Patrick Marley and Daniel Bice of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report: “State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen was asked months ago to assist in a growing secret investigation of former and current aides to Gov. Scott Walker, but Van Hollen’s office declined, sources familiar with the request said Tuesday. … Also on Tuesday, state attorneys filed a motion to withdraw an affidavit by Walker aide Cindy Archer in a federal challenge to Walker’s collective bargaining law — less than one week after FBI agents and other law enforcement officers raided her Madison home. State officials wouldn’t say if the motion was filed as a result of the raid. … Archer served as Walker’s deputy administration secretary but recently transferred to the state Department of Children and Families and is currently on medical leave. She served as a top aide to Walker when he was county executive. Before the raid on Archer’s home, authorities seized the work computers of two other former Walker staffers and executed a search warrant of one of their homes.”

At The Nation, John Nichols offers a bit more, saying: “Even if we are to believe that Walker is not interested in what’s happening with an investigation into potential wrongdoing by his former aides and his campaign, an investigation that has now extended to include a high-profile FBI raid, he can’t really distance himself from Archer. A longtime Republican apparatchik, Archer served as Walker’s director of administrative services in Milwaukee County, where she was a key player in developing budgets and advancing Walker’s agenda. When Walker was elected governor, she became his top political appointee in the definitional state agency with regard to the budget fight he planned to initiate: the Department of Administration, where she served as deputy secretary. In August, she moved to a new political position, in Walker’s Department of Children and Families, where her salary is 64 percent higher than that of her predecessor.”

As financial frauds go, this one was pretty aggressive if true. Says the Strib’s Dan Browning: “Civil charges made public Tuesday by Commissioner Mike Rothman allege that Michael Stephen Hyland, a primary broker of Split Rock Realty, let salespeople there carry out a ‘builder bailout’ scheme between 2006 and 2007 to sell off excess housing inventory. They allegedly recruited property buyers, submitted phony financial information on mortgage applications, used trumped up appraisals to inflate sales prices and paid the buyers kickbacks of $25,000 to $70,000. The charges say the scheme included cooperation among real estate companies, closers, appraisers, mortgage brokers and numerous buyers. ‘Our investigation uncovered a carefully orchestrated system of fraud,’ Rothman said. ‘These weren’t just ordinary crooks. These were industry professionals who knew the system and willfully took advantage of it.’ ” By another definition, they could be “job providers.”

If you’re moving around near the West Bank … heads up. The PiPress says: “The Cedar Avenue ramps on the north side of the Washington and Cedar Avenue interchange are scheduled to reopen today, according to the Metropolitan Council. Once the north ramps reopen, construction will move to the south ramps. Construction on the south ramps will continue into 2012. The ramp from 3rd Street to Interstate 35W, Minnesota 55 and Interstate 94 is also scheduled to reopen.”

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 09/21/2011 - 04:18 pm.

    I’m not defending Walker and his administration, but it’s reasonable to post jobs in neighboring states. It certainly benefits the Wisconsin job seeker to be aware of these opportunities and make a decision as to whether to pursue.

    It’s not something for the state to brag about, but it’s not the wrong thing to do.

  2. Submitted by will lynott on 09/21/2011 - 06:55 pm.

    Re, Archer and Walker, gee whiz, those conservatives just can’t seem to help themselves, can they?

  3. Submitted by will lynott on 09/21/2011 - 07:22 pm.

    Oh, and no one should be surprised by the high unemployment rate of vets. Our wars have always been fought largely by our nation’s poor. I know the draft tended to even that out, but, even in my generation’s war in SE Asia, the draftees tended to be those who couldn’t (like “Dick ‘Five-Deferment’ Cheney, who famously “had other priorities”) go to college or otherwise find a way to avoid the draft. It happened in the 30’s as well; guys who would have loved to have job on civie street joined the Army because no one else was hiring.

    The military is famous for promising to send you to college after you get out, as well as train you for a civilian occupation, but the fact is that a lot of today’s soldiers are frankly not college material and the training a lot of them got (rifleman, machine gunner)is not exactly in demand in the civilian world.

    Then too, a lot of vets are disabled in one way or another. Today’s employers, with a few exceptions, will choose an able bodied applicant for the few openings they do have.

    You can still get extra points on a government job application if you’re a veteran, but government jobs are dwindling. In the private world, you’re on your own.

    It’s a disgrace the way we treat these guys. But then, vets have always been valued when there’s a little dying to be done, and then largely forgotten when it’s all over. If you can make it one your own, great, if not, well…

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