Grand Rapids outlier in Minnesota unemployment

Horse logging and small-scale equipment demo, Grand Rapids MN

Horse logging in Grand Rapids is one method used to harvest timber in Itasca County. Nearly 600 logging and manufacturing jobs have been lost in the area since 2002. Photo by Eli Sagot via Flickr

Unemployment in Minnesota hovers around 6.6 percent, but Grand Rapids has a rate that nearly doubles that. The 12.3 percent unemployment rate is rooted in a steady decline of manufacturing and forestry jobs that have continued to leave the area since 2002.

A contributing factor to the high unemployment is the desirable quality of life.

“People want to live here,” Jeff Borling, Director of Itasca Business Development tells the Northland News Center. “If they lose their jobs, they aren’t necessarily going to pick up and leave their homes. And more over, their home is usually on a lake.”

And for others, like Cher Wedl, the downturn and lack of jobs led her to retire early.

“I’ve been looking, there just isn’t anything,” Wedl tells Northland News. “By losing my job I’m losing my health insurance, it forced me to go into a retirement earlier, and take my social security earlier than I normally would have just to make ends meet.”

Itasca County is slightly better off than the city of Grand Rapids in terms of unemployment but at 9.6 percent is still significantly higher than the state average.

Also clicking on MN Today

Sheriff: Sonar shows body of missing Wisconsin camper in Boundary Waters

The body of a 23-year-old Janesville, Wis., man missing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is believed to have been found in about 90 feet of water in Swan Lake but has not yet been recovered (Rochester Post Bulletin).

Bachmann enters GOP presidential race, drops bid in 6th Congressional District

Bachmann’s Facebook page said Monday evening that she “is no longer actively seeking re-election in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District.” The 6th Congressional District includes the St. Cloud area, but its boundaries will change in 2012 after the redistricting process (Saint Cloud Times).

GOP freshmen unite on budget

Six freshman GOP lawmakers from southeastern Minnesota left St. Paul late last month frustrated and without a solution to the state’s projected $5 billion budget deficit, something they felt voters sent them there to fix (Rochester Post Bulletin).

Ethics panel asks Minn. senator to apologize for Twitter message

The Senate Ethics subcommittee voted Monday to dismiss an ethics complaint against a state senator if she apologizes for a Twitter message and removes it from the social media news site (KARE).

Activists cry foul over FBI probe

People in Minnesota are among those fighting back as the FBI pursues a nationwide terrorism investigation (Star Tribune).

Rep. Tom Hackbarth’s email links union member’s budget concerns to Castro, Hitler

Hackbarth, an eight-term legislator, fired off a strange response to one of his constituents, a member of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees. In his e-mail, Hackbarth managed to tie Castro and Hitler into the current budget tussle (Minn Post).

Cleanup of industrial dumping ground finally complete

Take a good look at Stryker Bay in Duluth these days and you may not notice much different (Duluth News Tribune).


MPR’s Insight Now continues the debate around this question: Should government get out of a function if the private sector can perform that service or make that product?

Our two debaters are getting into the nuts and bolts of this debate. Peter Nelson from the Center of the American Experiment says privatization isn’t just a “standoff between government and private enterprise. It’s a question of when the mechanisms of private oversight, especially competition, can enhance public oversight.”

Dane Smith of Growth and Justice, points to the transformation of the country through the New Deal and adds: “The result, by the 1950s, was not a howling socialist wasteland, but a stronger and more competitive private-sector than ever before.

This two debaters are here to share with you…and also to hear what you have to say. Come on in to the debate all this week and share your insights.

Minnesota Scenes


Comments are closed.