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Austin jobless rate plunges to 3.8%

Published 4:44pm Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The unemployment rate in Austin plummeted last month to its lowest level in seven years, mirroring the trend at the state level.

Austin’s jobless rate was 3.8 percent in October, the lowest it’s been since it was 3.6 percent in October 2006, according to data the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development released last Thursday. The rate was 4.9 in both October 2012 and in October 2011, and the average was 4.8 percent over the past 12 months. All numbers are not seasonally adjusted.

Minnesota’s unemployment rate, which is seasonally adjusted, dropped to 4.8 percent for the first time in nearly six years as the state climbs further out of the deep hole caused by the Great Recession. That’s the same as it was in December 2007, which is generally considered to be the month that the long recession started.

It was three months after that, in March 2008, that Minnesota unemployment jumped above 5 percent and stayed there until last month. It hit a peak of 8.3 percent in April, May and June of 2009, and has been slowly creeping downward since then.

In Austin, the labor force in October was 13,304 people, with 510 people actively looking for work, according to the report.

Mower County’s rate also fell sharply, hitting 3.7 percent last month, the lowest since it was 3.6 in November 2007.

There were 771 people looking for work in the county, with 261 outside Austin.

The October unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in Albert Lea, 4.5 in Winona, 4 in Owatonna and 3.6 in Rochester.

The Austin area and Minnesota have consistently outperformed the national average. In October, the U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.3 percent.

The state released figures for September and October last Thursday. The September figures had been delayed by the federal government shutdown. Minnesota’s unemployment fell from 5.1 percent in August to 5 percent in September to 4.8 percent in October. In Austin, the rate was 4.4 percent in September, down from 4.9 in September 2012.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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