Minnesota Economy Falls Behind Surrounding States

The state’s four percent unemployment rate is now the highest compared to any of its neighbors.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Wisconsin’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to a 16-year low of 3.7 percent in February, leaving Minnesota surrounded by states faring much better economically.

Data from Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development shows that the state’s unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percent to settle at 3.7 percent. This is the lowest it has been for Wisconsin since November 2000. Also, the labor force participation rate increased from 68.1 percent in January to 68.3 percent for February.

“Wisconsin is working,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said in a press release, “More people are working than ever before in our history, wages are up, and the last time our unemployment rate was this low Tommy Thompson was governor and Bill Clinton was president. This is outstanding news for people all across our state, but there is more work to be done.”

Minnesota meanwhile recorded a seventh consecutive month of a four percent seasonally adjusted unemployment rate. This rate has remained steady since August 2016. Wisconsin added 18,700 jobs in February, Minnesota added only 3,800 jobs.

While Minnesota still fares better than the national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.7 percent, all of the state’s neighbors now have significantly lower unemployment rates.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Iowa currently has a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.2 percent. North Dakota and South Dakota are even lower, at 2.9 and 2.8 percent respectively. South Dakota’s rate fell by 0.3 percent from January to February while North Dakota’s and Iowa’s each fell by 0.1 percent.

In the past twelve months Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has increased by 0.1 percent. Wisconsin’s and Iowa’s have each fallen by 0.6 percent, North Dakota by 0.3 percent, and South Dakota by 0.1 percent. The United States as a whole also saw its rate decline over the past year by 0.2 percent.

As a result, Minnesota now sits behind all of its neighbors, both in terms of current seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and its growth rate in this metric.

Laura Kalambokidis, Minnesota’s state economist, did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.

Anders Koskinen