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Minnesota’s 8.8% unemployment rate outpaces national average

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

The recession is taking a heavy toll on Minnesota jobs, and the state’s 8.8% unemployment rate is higher than the national average.

The jobless rate for all of Minnesota was 8.8% at the end of February. Duluth and St. Cloud had the highest unemployment rate in the state—9.8%. The nationwide unemployment rate was 8.1%.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Twin Cities shed 42,000 jobs during 2008. The Minneapolis-St. Paul jobless rate stood at 8.2% on April 1.

To combat unemployment statewide, Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a bill providing extended unemployment benefits to workers who have exhausted their state benefits but do not qualify for extended federal benefits. The package provides up to 33 weeks of additional state unemployment benefits.

The state has also issued six dislocated-worker grants totaling almost $2.1 million. The grants provide job-search assistance and retraining for dislocated workers.

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