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Minnesota's Unemployment Rate Grows to 5.9% in August

PHOTO: Pet Store Workers. CREDIT: Courtesy of Pet Freaks
PHOTO: Pet Store Workers. CREDIT: Courtesy of Pet Freaks
September 21, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The rocky road of recovery continues in Minnesota. Employers statewide cut 2,000 jobs in August, sending the jobless rate up a tick, to 5.9 percent. However, despite last month's setback, Minnesota has added 24,500 jobs in the past year.

One of those new positions is held by Rebecca Johnson of Wadena. She was hired full-time at a pet store after training there through a state workforce program.

"I've been in the position where I've been looking for a job and I know how hard it is and how frustrating it can be, so I just feel extremely blessed that I was given this opportunity, and that the resources were there for me to even do this."

Johnson's strong work ethic and dog-grooming abilities are already earning her high praise from Keri Jacobson, her boss at Pet Freaks. Jacobson started the business about five years ago just before the country plunged into recession, but she says with help in staffing through state programs along the way, she now has five employees.

"Growing in the worst economy since the Great Depression, it's been hard and it's been slow, and having the government programs has helped us so much. Without it, we would still be two years behind schedule of where we want to be."

Jacobson and Johnson were connected through Pamela Evans, an employment coordinator at the state-run Workforce Center in Wadena. Evans connects those struggling to find work with employers who can offer job training, and maybe more.

"Turnover is expensive for business. So, if we can help with retaining that workforce and helping someone to be successful in their job, then it's a win-win situation, for the employer as well as the job seeker."

There are nearly 50 Workforce Centers statewide, and most services are free. Connect to a local office by calling 888-GET-JOBS, or online at

The biggest job gains in Minnesota have been in the categories of Professional and Business Services and Education and Health Services. The only two sectors that were down over the same period are Leisure and Hospitality and Trade, Transportation and Utilities.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN