Our opinion: Unemployment
Amid last week’s good news from Baxter (Is anyone else looking forward to Olive Garden and Costco moving to the area?) there was bit of jarring bad news which stuck out like Rudolph’s red nose on a foggy Christmas Eve.
The city of Brainerd’s November unemployment rate of 11.7 percent, which had been slowly decreasing for three months, went up last month. Brainerd continues to lead the state in unemployment among 67 cities with a population of 10,000 or more. Granted, the unemployment figure for Brainerd might not be as representative as the 7.6 percent unemployment figure for the larger Brainerd Micropolitan area. Still it’s disconcerting to be the unemployment capitol of Minnesota. While Brainerd’s distinction is nothing to be proud of, there’s no reason the city can’t try to use it as leverage to try and get some help in the form of economic development grants. We hope Gov. Mark Dayton and Legislature will take time out from worrying about the Vikings stadium to address the unemployment problems of distressed outstate cities such as Brainerd and to a lesser degree, Bemidji.
The Great Recession hit Brainerd hard and its effects have lingered on way too long. Action is needed get Brainerd out of this slump and city officials should use whatever pull or pressure they have to achieve some results.