ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced Thursday that 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits, known as Federal-State Extended Benefits, will be phased out, effective the week ending Jan. 14.
As required by federal law, the extended benefits won’t be available because the state’s three-month average unemployment rate has fallen below 6.5 percent. The extended benefits will be ending in nine other states in January as well.
With the change, unemployed Minnesotans still may be eligible for up to 73 weeks of unemployment benefits, including 26 weeks of regular state-funded benefits and 47 weeks of benefits under the federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program.
DEED began mailing letters earlier this month to about 7,000 applicants who may be affected by the reduction in benefit weeks.
About 118,000 people are currently requesting unemployment benefits in Minnesota on a weekly basis.
Brainerd’s unemployment rate rose in November to 11.7 percent. Brainerd was the only city with a population of 10,000 or more with a double-digit jobless rate in the state. Few others were even close. The majority of the cities had unemployment rates of 4 percent and 5 percent.
In Brainerd, the percentages mean out of a labor force of 7,322 in the city, 860 were without jobs. Brainerd’s jobless rate has not dipped below 10 percent now for 37 months. The Brainerd Micropolitan jobless rate, covering Crow Wing and Cass counties, increased to 7.6 percent in November.
In Crow Wing County, the November jobless rate was 7.2 percent. In the seven county area, the jobless rates ranged from 5.8 percent to 8.6 percent.
For more information about the changes, go to www.uimn.org or call (651) 296-3644 or (877) 898-9090 and TTY for the hearing impaired at (866) 814-1252.
DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and services, go online at www.PositivelyMinnesota.com.