Austin unemployment rate falls further in November, hits 3.7 percent

Published 10:21 am Thursday, January 2, 2014

Austin’s unemployment rate continued to decrease in November, falling even lower than its previous seven-year total and mirroring state and national trends.

There were 488 people unemployed in Austin within a labor pool of 13,340 residents, according to the latest data released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Austin’s 3.7 percent unemployment rate is far better than the 4.5 percent and 4.7 percent unemployment the city had in 2012 and 2011.

Mower County’s unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent in November, down from 4.3 percent the previous year. About 736 people were looking for work out of 21,099 Mower County residents.

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Minnesota’s unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in November from 4.8 percent the previous month.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development said Thursday that the seasonally adjusted rate was two percentage points lower than the month before. There continues to be a wide gap between Minnesota’s jobless rate and the nation’s as a whole, where the unemployment rate stands at 7 percent.

Minnesota employers shed 800 jobs in November, but these losses were offset by an upward revision of the state’s October employment numbers by 1,000 jobs, driving the state’s unemployment rate down to 4.6 percent, the Department of Employment and Economic Development reported on Thursday.

The number of unemployed Minnesotans fell to about 137,500 — its lowest level since before the recession.

A decline of 0.1 percent brought the state’s labor force participation rate to 70 percent, its lowest level since 1980. The participation rate tracks those working or actively looking for a job, and the decline also contributed to the downward trend in unemployment. Steve Hine, the state’s director of labor market information, attributed this continued decline to retiring baby boomers.

Owatonna’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in November. Rochester’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, and Albert Lea’s unemployment rate was 4.8 percent.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.