Minnesota’s Metro Areas’ Unemployment Rates Fail to Drop

WASHINGTON – New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Minnesota’s Metro Areas are stagnant on the unemployment battle, with one notable exception.

The data, which is not seasonally adjusted, shows that from April 2016 to April 2017 Minnesota as a whole held steady at 3.7 percent unemployment. Three of Minnesota’s metropolitan areas saw no significant change: Mankato-North Mankato at 2.8 percent, Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington at 3.3 percent, and St. Cloud at 3.7 percent. The Rochester metropolitan area saw a slight increase in unemployment, increasing from three percent to 3.1 percent over the last twelve months.

The Duluth metro area saw big gains however. While the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the area was 6.1 percent in April 2016, it is now down it 5.2 percent. This is still well above the state as a whole, and the gains in the last twelve months are aided slightly by the civilian labor force actually contracting by 842 people.

With the exception of Duluth, all of the metropolitan areas in Minnesota are below the statewide rate. This means more rural areas are experiencing a much higher unemployment rate than their urban dwelling neighbors.

Meanwhile Minnesota’s lack of improvement in metro areas aside from Duluth is seeing the state left behind by its neighbors as well.

Wisconsin’s statewide non-seasonally adjusted unemployment fell from 4.1 percent in April 2016 to three percent in April 2017. All 12 of Wisconsin’s metropolitan areas saw significant decreases in unemployment in the last twelve months. Of these 10 saw the rate drop by a full percent or more. Racine saw the biggest improvement, dropping a full 1.3 percent to settle at 3.8 percent. The La Crosse-Onalaska and Madison metro areas saw the smallest improvements, each dropping 0.8 percent to settle at 2.7 percent and 2.1 percent respectively. Madison’s rate is the best of the Wisconsin metro areas.

With the exception of Racine, all of Wisconsin’s metro areas are below Minnesota’s statewide unemployment rate. Nine of them are below the Mankato-North Mankato low rate of 2.8 percent.

Anders Koskinen