Couple more thoughts on Minnesota’s jobless data

Annie Baxter drew a detailed picture of Minnesota’s unemployment situation in her fine story and MinnEcon post. I just wanted to follow up with a few more quick thoughts.

Like Annie, I was really moved by Paulette Odette, the Thief River Falls woman who in January lost her 15-year job. Paulette’s story came to us from her daughter, Elizabeth, who’s part of MPR’s Public Insight Network. Elizabeth offered a couple of other important points about this tough economy:

“People 55 and older who are laid off do not likely have the option of changing careers. The time and money involved would be difficult to find and not likely pay off with the time remaining before retirement.”

Job searching in a small town is different/harder than in an urban area. Elizabeth said at one point she was going to suggest her mom do a practice job interview. “But she’ll likely know every person she interviews with, so she might not get the typical interview questions.”

She adds: It’s a tough environment but I think that this experience has and will make my mom a stronger and more assertive person.”

It was hard, too, to hear Patrick Dentinger’s story. He’s part of our Public Insight Network and shared his struggle as an out-of-work graphic artist in the Mankato area.The recession cost him a job and home.

But he’s also concluded that he has to pick up and move, maybe out of state. That’s a story policy makers need to hear. Minnesota continues to age. Its high school graduate population will peak this spring. If the lousy economy compels people to leave, who fills the jobs when the economy starts growing again?

Below, we’ve mapped some other recent voices on jobs from our Public Insight Network. Add your insight.

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