Local jobless rate steady in December

The local jobless rate remained at 4.5 percent in December, staying as low as it has been in more than four years.

The last time the rate was lower was May 2008, when it was at 4.4, according to data released Tuesday afternoon by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. December’s rate was the same as November’s in Austin, and the Mower County unemployment rate was 4.5, just up from 4.4 in November. Austin finished 2012 with six months under 5 percent, with the highest level coming in February at 5.8. All local numbers are not seasonally adjusted.

There were 609 Austin residents actively looking for work and 353 outside of Austin in Mower County, according to report.

Rochester’s jobless rate remains one of the best in southern Minnesota, but went from 4.1 percent in November to 4.3 last month. Austin’s rate is lower than Owatonna’s, at 5.2 percent, Winona’s, at 5 percent, and Albert Lea’s, at 6 percent.

Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate was 5.5 percent, while the national average was 7.8 percent.

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