Just two days before Christmas, thousands are balancing these holidays without a gift they may have at the top of their list - a job.
Brainerd had the highest unemployment in the state in November for cities with populations of 10,000 or more.
The city's jobless rate jumped 2.3 percent from October as it climbed to 15.4 percent. That percentage means there are 1,134 people out of the labor force without work in the city as of November.
Brainerd's jobless rate was 13.5 percent for November 2008 and 8.3 percent two years ago.
Just five cities out of 66 listed in the large city category have double-digit unemployment rates. Brainerd is joined by Bemidji, Grand Rapids, Hibbing and Virginia with jobless rates ranging from 10.5 percent to 11.9 percent.
But not everyone is that high, Moorhead's jobless rate was 3.1 percent last month. The last time Brainerd's rate was even close was a 4.1 percent unemployment rate in October of 2000. Brainerd has had a double-digit jobless rate since November of 2008.
Brainerd's jobless rate reached a high of 21 percent in January, the highest recorded for the city on a state report going back to January 2000.
The unemployment rate increased in all seven area counties for November.
By county, the unemployment rates for November compared to those in October.
Aitkin County, 9.4 percent, up from 8.2 percent.
Cass County, 10.3 percent, up from 8.2 percent.
Crow Wing County, 9.3 percent, up from 8.1 percent.
Mille Lacs County, 11.5 percent, up from 10.9 percent.
Morrison County, 10.1 percent, up from 9 percent.
Todd County, 7.8 percent, up from 7.4 percent.
Wadena County, 9.4 percent, up from 8.5 percent.
Those numbers mean that out of a labor force of 103,733, there were 10,025 people in the labor force without jobs in the multi-county area.
The numbers were recently released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
Compared to the jobless rate a year ago, the unemployment percentages are higher this November in all but Wadena County. In January 2008, the jobless rate for the area hit double-digits across the board and remained there for the next several months until April when Todd County dropped below 10 percent.
Mille Lacs County has been in double-digit unemployment figures nonstop for a year, beginning in December of 2008.
For the Brainerd micropolitan area, covering Crow Wing and Cass counties, the jobless rate increased to 9.6 percent for November, up from 8.1 percent the month before. There are 4,498 people from the labor force in the micropolitan area who are without work. This year, the micropolitan hit its jobless rate high of 13 percent in January.
On the state and national level the seasonally adjusted jobless rates are headed in a better direction, decreasing between October and November.
The state's seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 7.4 percent for November, down from 7.6 percent the month before. The nation's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November was 10 percent, a slight decrease from 10.2 percent in October.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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