Northeast Minnesota's unemployment rate dropped 0.6 percent from July, falling to 4.8 percent in August 2015. The seven-county Arrowhead region had just over 164,350 available workers, with 7,930 unemployed workers. The region's rate remained well above the state rate of 3.5 percent.
All seven counties in the region saw a decline in unemployment rate over the past month, with the biggest drop occurring in Koochiching County, which fell from 8.0 percent in July to 7.0 percent in August. However, that is still the third highest rate of the 87 counties in the state. Rates also remained high in Itasca County, which inched down to 6.1 percent. In contrast, Cook County's rate dropped 0.6 percent to 2.7 percent in August, which was the 8th lowest rate in the state. After seeing steady declines over the month, Lake, Carlton, St. Louis, and Aitkin County all had unemployment rates between 3.9 and 4.6 percent.
The unemployment rate in Northeast Minnesota dropped to 5.4% in July of 2015, though that was still 1.6% above the statewide rate and was easily the highest rate of the six planning regions in the state. Northeast Minnesota's labor force has been growing through the first half of 2015, up to 166,109 available workers in July of 2015, which was over 1,000 more workers than the region had in July of 2014. The number of unemployed workers was also going up, climbing to 8,911 unemployed workers who were actively seeking work in July, an increase of more than 400 workers compared to the previous year.
The highest rate in the region and the highest rate in the state was found in Koochiching County, at 8.0% in July of 2015. At 6.2%, Itasca County had the 4th highest rate in the state, followed closely by Aitkin and St. Louis County in 10th and 11th place, respectively. The lowest rate in the region was found in Cook County, which had an estimate of just 114 unemployed workers in July of 2015, leading to an extremely tight labor force.
Northeast Minnesota's unemployment rate continued to hover well above the state rate, checking in at 5.6 percent in June of 2015. That was actually just above the national unemployment rate as well, which fell to 5.5 percent in June. Northeast Minnesota had the highest unemployment rate of the six regions in the state, a full 2 percent above the lowest regional rate and 1.2 percent above the second highest regional rate.
Northeast Minnesota had about 166,700 available workers, and 9,275 unemployed workers in June of 2015. Both were an increase of more than 1,000 people from the previous month, as the local labor force and economy reacted to increased demand in the tourism industry for the summer season.
Cook County continued to have the lowest unemployment rate in the region, at 3.7 percent, followed by Lake County at 4.3 percent. In contrast, rates were 8.2 percent in Koochiching County, which was tied for the highest rate of the 87 counties in the state. Itasca County had the fourth highest rate in the state at 6.5 percent, while St. Louis (5.4 percent), Aitkin (5.4 percent), and Carlton (5.0 percent) were all among the top 20 rates in the state.