There are a lot of barometers that people are using to measure what the success (or lack of it) in regards to the impact of the Federal Stimulus money now flowing from Washington. One statistic that is fairly current and accurate is that of unemployment. New numbers are just out for Minnesota for September 2009.
Looking at Regions:
Northwestern MN. Sept. 09 6.3% Aug. 09 7.1% Sept. 08 5.3%
Northeastern MN. 8.1% 8.9% 6.2%
Central MN. 7.7% 8.1% 5.7%
Southwest MN. 6.0% 6.5% 4.8%
Southeastern MN. 6.6% 6.9% 4.9%
7 County Metro. 7.3% 7.7% 5.4%
As you can see…everyone has improved over the previous month, but we are nowhere near where we were just one year ago when we were heading into the abyss. With a .8 improvement from August in both Northwestern and Northeastern MN regions…it seems by these statistics that the North has rebounded strongly in the last 30 days.
Looking a bit closer at Micropolitan Statistical Areas:
Bemidji : Sept. 09 7.2% August 09:8.1% Sept 08 : 6.2%
Brainerd: 7.6% 8.1% 6.4%
Alexandria 5.6% 5.8% 4.5%
Fergus Falls 6.3% 6.7% 5.1%
Willmar 5.5% 6.1% 4.5%
Hutchinson 8.0% 8.4% 5.7%
Owatonna 7.7% 8.2% 4.9%
Marshall 4.9% 5.3% 4.4%
Hibbing 13.7% 16.0% 9.5%
Large MN. Outlying cities:
Duluth Sept. 09 7.1% August 09: 7.2% Sept 08: 6.0%
Mankato 7.0% 7.3% 4.9%
Rochester 5.9% 6.2% 4.7%
St. Cloud 6.9% 7.4% 5.7%
• The Iron Range area represented by Hibbing has a made some good progress in 30 days but is a long, long way of even getting back close to last year.
• Rochester, usually leading the pack with stable low unemployment with strong industries such as the Mayo Clinic and IBM is low, but not the lowest. Marshall, MN with Southwest State University and Schwan Foods is lowest at 4.9%. Willmar, MN, home of several large food processors including Jenny O Turkey, comes in 2nd with a strong 5.5% showing. Alexandria, MN., with a diverse economic mix quietly shows its strength with a 5.6% rate.
• Owatonna and Mankato seem to be especially hard hit with number significantly up from last year. Mankato usually remains fairly stable with Minnesota State Mankato employment, but obviously industry has been hit hard with layoffs. Same for Owatonna and their strong industrial base.
• Duluth to me has fairly strong numbers, fairing equally as well as the other major cities. It always seems like negative news coming from Duluth, but the economic picture certainly seems better than being portrayed in the media.
• Bemidji with a strong .9 gain from last month is only 1% off from last year. I would guess the pipeline project along with strong construction activity including the regional event center and a nice increase at Bemidji State University is fueling these numbers.