Jobless rates inched slightly higher last month in four area counties.
The state recently released February's unemployment rates. In Cass County, the numbers actually decreased slightly - from 14.7 percent down to 14.5 percent.
Jobless rates were unchanged in Aitkin and Crow Wing counties. But Mille Lacs, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties all edged up a bit.
With all the counties combined, there are 14,482 people without jobs out of a labor force of 107,027.
In January, all seven area counties had their jobless numbers increase to reach double-digit unemployment rates. The holdouts of Crow Wing and Todd counties joined the higher trend set by the other five counties in December.
The jobless rates have been mostly on an upward trend since October when the area jobless rate ranged from 6.1 percent to 7.8 percent.
County, February jobless rate, Feb. 2008 jobless rate
Aitkin, 13.5 percent, 9.2 percent.
Cass, 14.5 percent, 10.3 percent.
Crow Wing, 12.3 percent, 7.5 percent.
Mille Lacs, 15.6 percent, 10.3 percent.
Morrison, 14.7 percent, 8.8 percent.
Todd, 11.7 percent, 7.0 percent.
Wadena, 13.5 percent, 9.7 percent.
Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
In the past, the jobless rates have spiked in January and then dropped back down - at least slightly in February. The downward trend typically continued through the summer before jobless numbers began to climb again in the late summer or fall.
The unemployment percentage dropped from a winter high in January to decrease in February every year between 2000 and 2006. The first hiccup came in 2006 as Cass and Mille Lacs jobless rates were unchanged between the two months.
In 2008, February's numbers in Mille Lacs and Morrison counties were the first in recent history to actually increase ever so slightly compared to January's rate.
The most telling numbers about the future may come with March rates. The U.S. unemployment rate for February is 8.9 percent with a seasonally adjusted rate of 8.1 percent. Minnesota's jobless rate for February is 8.8 percent and 8.1 percent seasonally adjusted.
The numbers for the Brainerd micropolitan area - of Cass and Crow Wing counties - list the jobless rate at 13 percent (unchanged from January) with 6,155 people unemployed from a labor force of 47,332.
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