MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — The nation’s unemployment rate climbed to 9.8 percent in November, a seven-month high. A local expert was surprised.

“The national news was worse then I expected,” said Dan McElroy, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

READ MORE: Driver Flees After Hitting 4-Year-Old Girl In East St. Paul

With hiring so weak, the unemployment rate rose from 9.6 percent to 9.8 percent. The jobless rate has now topped 9 percent for 19 straight months, the longest stretch on record.

READ MORE: Infant Found Safe After South Minneapolis Car Theft, Police Say

“But I am hopeful things things are going over better then that in Minnesota,” said McElroy on the WCCO Morning News with Dave Lee.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO Interview With Dan McElroy

MORE NEWS: Federal COVID Task Force Team Providing Backup For Burned-Out Hospital Workers In St. Cloud

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)