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As Minnesota jobless rate drops, so do unemployment benefit claims

State records show that unemployment benefits were sent to 178,649 Minnesotans; that’s the lowest number since before the Great Recession.

State officials sent unemployment benefits to 178,649 Minnesotans in 2014, a number almost as low as in 2007, before the recession caused the loss of many jobs.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development bases the number on summaries sent at the end of each year to those receiving unemployment benefits.

The low number of benefit claims coincides with the state’s falling unemployment rate: In November it was  3.7 percent, compared to the national rate of 5.7 percent. Minnesota’s rate was the lowest it has been since 2001.

In 2007, the state sent out 181,927 unemployment benefit summaries. Since then, the numbers had been significantly higher, including 351,458 summaries in 2009 and 348,780 summaries in 2010.

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The state’s unemployment insurance program provides some wage replacement for those who’ve lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said this week: “The state’s low level of unemployment benefits paid in 2014 is another indicator of the state’s economic strength.”