At 3.5 percent in August 2015, Central Minnesota's unemployment rate matched the state rate. That was the lowest rate reported in the region so far this year, and was 0.2 percent lower than August 2014. Central Minnesota has 383,602 available workers, of which just 13,502 were unemployed and actively seeking work, which is also the lowest number reported so far this year.
However, the region was still home to several counties with higher unemployment rates than the state, led by Kanabec County at 5.3 percent, Mille Lacs County at 4.6 percent, and Pine County at 4.3 percent, all among the 16 highest rates in the state. The lowest rate in the region was in Kandiyohi County, which was the 16th lowest rate at 3.0 percent. Rates were also really low in Wright and Stearns counties.
Central Minnesota's unemployment rate ticked back up to 4.1 percent in June of 2015, leaving it just above the state's 3.9 percent rate, but still well below the national rate of 5.5 percent. The lowest rates in the region were found in Kandiyohi (3.6%), Wright (3.7%), Stearns (3.9%) and Meeker County (3.9%), which all matched or were below the state rate. The highest rates in the region were in East Central Minnesota, including Kanabec (5.6%), Mille Lacs (5.5%), and Pine County (5.1%), which were all in line with the national rate.
In sum, Central Minnesota had 386,340 available workers in June of 2015, of which 15,908 were unemployed and actively seeking work. The 13-county planning region gained over 6,500 workers in the past year, with most of them located in Region 6E - which added nearly 4,000 workers since June of 2014. Both Region 7E and 7W gained over 1,000 workers; but saw a small decline in the number of unemployed workers over the prior year.