Jobless rates dropped across the region last month to their lowest rates since the end of last year, according to figures released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

However, the rates were slightly higher than they were at the same time the previous year, DEED reports.

The county showing the largest decline in employment rates from April to May was Le Sueur County which recorded a jobless rate of 3.2% last month, down from 5.6% in April and 7% in both February and March. In May 2018, however, Le Sueur County had an unemployment rate of 2.9%.

The county showing the slightest decrease over the same period was Nicollet County, which recorded an jobless rate of 2.5% in April, followed by a 2.4% last month. In May 2018, Nicollet County’s jobless rate was 1.8%, according to DEED numbers.

Dodge County’s rate stood at 2.6% in May, down from 3.6% in April, but still higher than its rate the previous May, which stood at just 2.1%.

In May of 2018, Goodhue, Mower and Rice counties also had jobless rates of 2.1%. But those numbers have increased in May of this year. Rice County’s rate last month was 2.6%, down from 3.1% in April. Both Goodhue and Mower counties recorded a 2.7% rate last month, down from 3.0% in April for Mower and from 3.2% for Goodhue.

Freeborn County’s unemployment rate dropped from 3.6% in April to 2.8% in May. However, the county’s rate in May 2018 stood at 2.4%.

Steele County’s jobless rate in May of last year also stood at 2.4%, according to DEED numbers. This year, however, the county recorded an unemployment rate of 2.9%, down from 3.3% in April.

Waseca County was the only county in the region that had a jobless rate of more than 3% in May, with a rate of 3.1%, down from a rate of 3.9% in April, and down from a rate of 3.3% in May 2018.

Northfield recorded a jobless rate of 2.4% in May, up from 2.1% in April, the only city in the region for which numbers were available to show a higher unemployment rate in May than in April, according to DEED.

Albert Lea, Faribualt and Waseca all showed a drop over the same period — Albert Lea from 3.8% to 3.1%, Faribault from 4.0% to 3.4%, and Waseca from 3.8% to 3.0%.

Owatonna’s unemployment stood the same at 2.9%.

Reach Managing Editor Jeffrey Jackson at 444-2371 or follow him on Twitter @OPPJeffrey.

Jeffrey Jackson is the managing editor of the Owatonna People's Press. He can be reached at 507-444-2371 or via email at

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