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NDSU overpowers SHSU to advance to FCS national championship game

Minnesota, North Dakota seeing lowest jobless rates in years

FARGO — Minnesota and North Dakota are both reporting unemployment rates that are among the lowest seen in over a decade.

Minnesota's unemployment rate dropped 0.4 percent in October to 3.3 percent, its lowest point in 17 years, according to seasonally adjusted figures released by state officials this month.

North Dakota's seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 2.5 percent in October. That was up slightly from the 2.4 percent posted in September and the 2.3 percent seen from June through August, according to federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) records. The 2.3 percent seasonally adjusted rate is a historic low, BLS reports.

Marcia Goetz, a spokeswoman for Job Service North Dakota, said the state's dip in unemployment can be attributed to more hiring in the oil and natural gas sectors in the state's western Oil Patch, as well as more hiring in the health care and retail sectors.

Fargo, Jamestown and Bismarck are among cities seeing more hiring, Goetz said.

Regarding the low Minnesota numbers, state labor market economist Steve Hine said this could be "a temporary blip, but certainly seeing a decline like this is consistent with the employment trend that we have been observing" in the recovery from the Great Recession.

The health care sector is growing in Minnesota, and construction "is recovering from the Great Recession at a pretty good clip," he said.

There were 2,970,907 Minnesotans employed in October, and 102,919 unemployed, according to BLS.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 4.1 percent in October, down from 4.8 percent in October 2016, BLS reported.

Non-seasonally adjusted rates

North Dakota posted a non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 1.7 percent in October. The last time the non-seasonally adjusted rate was lower was October 1997 when it dipped to 1.6 percent, Goetz said.

Minnesota had a non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 2.4 percent in October, state figures showed.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is more typically reported and used for month-to-month comparisons because it takes into account seasonal patterns in employment and unemployment, according to BLS.

In October, Cass County had a non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 1.4 percent, according to North Dakota's Workforce Intelligence Network (NDWIN), which does not have seasonally adjusted figures.

The Fargo-Moorhead metro area had a non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 1.6 percent for October, and the Grand Forks-East Grand Forks metro area was at 1.7 percent, NDWIN reported.

North Dakota had 411,357 people employed in October and 7,277 unemployed. Cass County had 101,849 employed and 1,465 unemployed, NDWIN reported.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including education, Fargo city government, business and military affairs. He is currently The Forum's K-12 education reporter.

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