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Indicator 5 1 : Regional disparity in unemployment

Goal: Rural areas, small cities and urban neighborhoods throughout the state will be economically viable places for people to live and work. Minnesotans value their freedom to choose where to live. Minnesotans in communities throughout the state also want their youth to be able to make a living without moving away. The indicators for this goal deal with economic and transportation issues that affect the viability of urban and rural communities.

Rationale: This indicator focuses on disparities in employment opportunities throughout the state.

Highest regional unemployment rate

Year
19909.1%
19919.2%
19929.5%
19939.4%
19947.7%
19957.4%
19968.4%
19977.1%
19985.5%
19995.8%
20006.5%
20016%
graph

Data source: Minnesota Department of Economic Security

Lowest regional unemployment rate

Year
19904.1%
19914%
19924.3%
19934.2%
19943.1%
19952.8%
19963%
19972.4%
19981.9%
19992.2%
20002.6%
20012.8%
graph

Data source: Minnesota Department of Economic Security

Gap between regional unemployment rates

Year
19905%
19915.2%
19925.2%
19935.2%
19944.6%
19954.6%
19965.4%
19974.7%
19983.6%
19993.6%
20003.9%
20013.2%
graph

Data source: Minnesota Department of Economic Security

About this indicator: The narrowing gap among regional unemployment rates and declining unemployment rates across the state indicate that the entire state benefited from the economic expansion occurring during most of the 1990s. While employment opportunity disparities still exist from one region to the next, the general reduction in the gap during the last decade suggests that Minnesotans in most regions of the state had plentiful employment opportunities.

In every year except 1990 and 2001, Region 2 (Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Lake of the Woods and Mahnomen counties) has had the highest regional unemployment rate in the state, generally two to three times higher than the Twin Cities metropolitan area. During times of low unemployment, rates have tended to fall more in regions that already have high rates, compared to regions with low unemployment rates.

For comparison: Minnesota's unemployment rate for 2001 was 3.7 percent while the national unemployment rate was 4.8 percent.

Things to think about: In general, unemployment rates have been lowest in Minnesota's more urban southern regions and highest in the rural areas of northern Minnesota during the 1990s. Many economists believe that unemployment rates below 5 percent indicate a tight labor market, which can drive up wages and increase inflation rates.

Technical notes: Unemployment rates reported here are not seasonally adjusted.

Sources:

  • Minnesota Department of Economic Security, Local Area Unemployment Statistics, Minnesota Economic Development Regions, www.mnwfc.org/lmi/laus/index.htm

Related data trends:

Related indicators:

Other related indicators:

  • Employment growth rate (Minnesota Department of Economic Security, www.mnwfc.org)

Technical problems? Contact: demography.helpline@state.mn.us