Unemployment rate remains low

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 4, 2000

During the Great Depression finding a job was almost impossible.

Friday, August 04, 2000

During the Great Depression finding a job was almost impossible. But few people living today can understand those problems first-hand.

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Looking for jobs in America has become easier.

Easy enough to take the focus off just getting a job and to start asking questions like "Where do I want to work?" "How much do I want to get paid?" and "How many hours do I want?"

People can actually customize their jobs instead of taking what they’re given.

What gives them this power over their employment is the advantage of low unemployment rates.

The unemployment rate in Minnesota has been continually decreasing over the past few years, particularly in the southern counties.

Only five years ago the percentage read 4 percent and now it’s resting close to 2 percent.

George Brophy, President/CEO of the Development Corporation of Austin, says that it will soon even be less than 2 percent.

One reason for this situation is basic: the products on the market are in great demand. This means that companies are working at near or full capacity to produce enough products to satisfy consumers.

As a result companies are reaching out for workers to help them produce at the rate that they sell.

Another factor that is contributing to the employment situation is the general aging of the population. The older generation comes from a time when it was common to have quite a few children in each family. This generation makes up a great percentage of the population and is now reaching retirement.

This means that they need to be replaced by new workers.

Companies that have good retirement plans increase the situation by making it more appealing to go into early retirement than to wait. Because of this many employees are retiring at 55, 60 and 62 years of age and are not being replaced.

While many jobs are opening due to retirements, not many younger people are around to replace them.

Most high school graduates who are leaving southern Minnesota for higher education at universities aren’t coming back.

Instead, they tend to move to metropolitan areas after they get their degrees.

This also leaves a lot of employment options open in Southern Minnesota because it decreases the number of people looking for jobs. Although it is debatable, the low unemployment rate can be seen as a good thing.

"You want to see a full employment opportunity," said Brophy, "It’s better to see a community employed than on welfare."

And since the condition isn’t expected to change, people are hopefully enjoying the newfound ease of job searching while it’s here.