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Minn. Unemployment Rate Dips Again To 5.9 Percent

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s unemployment took another big drop in November to 5.9 percent, state officials calculated Thursday. For some of those out of work, it means trimmed access to unemployment benefits.

In its monthly report, the state Department of Employment and Economic Development said the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate last month was a half-point lower than in October. The rate dropped even though employers cut 13,700 jobs.

Because Minnesota’s average unemployment rate has been so low compared with the national rate — which stood at 8.6 percent in November — its residents won’t for certain receive extended benefits. Senior department official Steve Hine said as many as 16,000 people could see their window for receiving emergency benefits narrowed, though he cautioned that the precise number was hard to pin down and that pending legislation in Washington would have an effect, too.

Hine said conflicting data coming from employer and household surveys used to calculate the unemployment rate partially explain the contradiction between a falling rate and continued job losses. He said it could mean more people are self-employed or doing contract work as companies shed payroll.

Hine said participation in Minnesota’s work force is down to 71.6 percent — a level the state hasn’t seen since 1988. People not viewed as participating in the work force aren’t included in unemployment calculations.

Minnesota lags the nation in annual job growth, with a 0.3 percent growth rate compared to 1.2 percent growth nationally.

The biggest sectors for lost jobs in Minnesota were leisure and hospitality, government and construction. Job gains were seen in education and health services, professional and business services and leisure and hospitality sectors.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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