Official expects Minn. unemployment figures to spikeby Annie Baxter, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota's jobless rate has fallen for three months in a row, but it's expected to reverse course when state officials release October's unemployment rate on Thursday.
The gap between national unemployment and the lower jobless rate in Minnesota has widened over the past few months. In September, Minnesota's unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent--a full 2.5 percent lower than the national figure.
State labor market analyst Steve Hine said technical factors may have played a role in the drop in Minnesota in September and doubts the rate will stay that low.
"I'm reluctant to say that that 7.3 percent is a trend that we'll continue to see for the next few months," Hine said.
Hine also said the big September decrease will probably turn out to be an anomaly, due in part to the time of year.
"I don't pay much attention to a one month change in the unemployment rate, especially at a time of year when seasonal factors like the timing of the school year and the weather could really drive those numbers upward or downward," he said.
Hine said the state's unemployment rate probably will not spike dramatically, but it will tick up. As the economy improves, people who've given up on finding employment will resume their job hunt and be counted as looking for work, and that drives up the jobless rate.