Behind the numbers

There wasn’t much meat in the headline today that Minnesota’s unemployment rate has gone up again.

The August rate jumped to 6.2 percent. That means 3,200 jobs were lost in August; 8,200 have disappeared over the last year.

Some areas of the economy are picking up jobs, however. Trade, transportation, utilities, education, and healths services have all picked up. The financial sector also has picked up over the last year although it seems with the collapse of the markets and the industry this week, that’s a trend that will be difficult to continue.

The weak side of the picture are profession and business services, manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, construction, and information.

For every job that’s available, according to the Department of Employment and Economic Development, there are 2.9 people looking for one.

But, there are jobs available. Almost 20,000 are posted on the department’s Web site. But, in a sign of a struggling economy, nearly 46,000 people have posted their resumes.

Regionally, the picture is darker.

On the Arrowhead, for example, the most widely available job — telemarketer — pays well below average wages, according to DEED. On the other hand, the second-most-available — nurses — pays well above average. In West-Central, nine of the top 10 most-available jobs pay less than $25,000 a year (nurse, at #10, pays more than $50,000).

In the southwest corner of the state, four of the top five most-available jobs pay less than $18,000. You can work in a meat-packing plant fairly easily, and make $14, 412 a year.

And in North Central Minnesota, five of the top six jobs pay less than $19,000 a year (The exception?You guessed it: nurse).

Minnesota Public Radio News reporters are looking for some insights from people who live in Minnesota and want to tell us about the state of their local economies and how (if?) if it’s being affected by what’s going on nationally.

  • Glad my wife is a RN

  • sheldon mains

    Minnesota once could count on an unemployment rate that wasn’t as bad as the national one. No more. Why?

    * Maybe years of disinvestment in education (K-12 and higher ed), infrastructure (roads, bridges, water systems, sewer systems) and the social safety net (training programs to help unemployed folks find a job).

    * Maybe a deregulation view of our utilities that has resulted in increased energy costs and below par telecommunications services at ridiculous prices.

    * Maybe it’s a federal and state tax system that rewards companies for shipping jobs out of the country.

    * Maybe the US economy is so bad that no state can continue to stay above the mess.

  • Paul

    Two things:

    While MN can’t be expected to be completely isolated from the national economy, but our public policy here and nationally has be driven magic plan thinking by both republicans and democrats. The idea, cut taxes and wait for the magic to happen. These guys were all voted into office so ya’ll remember now… there is no such think as magic. Economies are like everything else, if you put garbage in, you get garbage out. Taxes pay for government services, you know, things like regulatory agencies, transportation infrastructure, education infrastructure, etc. The idea of democracy is to have a government that works for the people, if you keep electing people who don’t believe in government to run the government, you just get a government that doesn’t work. That bad for the economy.

    Those of you who seem to think that CEOs are the only ones who should have actual contracts with their employers, take note that nurses are the ones holding onto their wage gains. It just so happens that nurses are also one of last bastions of Unions. The Minnesota Nursing Association may be the strongest union left in MN. No one ever seems to want to talk about what they can do increase their income instead of the return on their investments around here for some reason, but you may want think about getting organized labor wise.