Data released by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Duluth’s unemployment rate has increased more than a full percent over the prior year.
The data, which is not seasonally adjusted for temporary jobs such as construction, showed Duluth gained more than 2,000 unemployed persons from April 2015 to April 2016, while adding only 426 jobs over the same time period.
The corresponding increase of 1.4 percent, jumping from 4.8 to 6.2 over the past 12 months, is tied with Farmington, New Mexico for the seventh largest increase amongst metropolitan areas in the nation. Duluth’s March 2015 to March 2016 change in unemployment also tied for the fourth worst, as the unemployment rate increased 1.6 percent over that period. That’s behind only Odessa, Texas; Wheeling, West Virginia; and Casper, Wyoming.
All of this data comes before the layoffs that Duluth miners have been expecting of up to 1,100 mine workers, as MPR reported in late April.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ press release that accompanied the report stated that 269 metropolitan areas saw lower unemployment rates in April of 2016 compared to those of a year prior. 94 metro areas had increased rates, and 24 saw no change year over year.
Minnesota metro areas outside of Duluth saw fairly stagnant unemployment rates. Minnesota’s as a whole increased by two-tenths of a percent, as did the Mankato-North Mankato metro area, while the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington rate increased just one-tenth of a percent. The St. Cloud metro area remained at 3.7 percent year over year, and the Rochester rate decreased from 3.2 to three percent from 2015 to 2016.
Duluth is the only metropolitan area in Minnesota above the United States’ unemployment rate of 4.7 percent. At 6.2 the city is well over that threshold and further layoffs in the late spring and early summer have yet to be reflected in official employment data.