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Fun With Statistics

by Dave Senf
david.senf@state.mn.us
November 2018

Over the last decade Minnesota’s unemployment rate spiked to a 26-year high of 8.0 percent in August 2009 and then gradually fell over the next 10 years to an 18-year low of 2.8 percent in September 2018. The extreme swing in the state’s unemployment rate in just 10 years has raised interest in alternative measures of unemployment. In addition to the official rate, called the U-3, other broader unemployment rates (U-1 to U-6) are estimated. These alternative unemployment measures account for discouraged workers, marginally attached workers, and involuntary part-time workers. Minnesota’s alternative unemployment rates are now below their levels prior to the recession. Minnesota’s alternative unemployment measures since 2003 are displayed and compared with other states and the U.S. rates in the visualization linked here.

Minnesota’s alternative unemployment rates are published at mn.gov/deed/data/current-econ-highlights/alternative-unemployment.jsp. The U.S. alternative unemployment rates can be found at www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t15.htm while alternative unemployment rates for all states are posted at www.bls.gov/lau/stalt.htm.

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