FF unemployment rate holds steadyPublished 11:58am Monday, February 4, 2013
Seasonal issues are contributing to a higher unemployment rate, but it is still the lowest since 2006, according to Rick Schara, business services representative with the Minnesota Work Force Center in Fergus Falls.
“Building and road construction jobs, and others that are outdoor jobs, have trailed off until spring thaw,” he said. “We had a good year overall.”
December 2012 saw 6.1 percent unemployment, compared to 6.2 percent in December 2011. But even a small decrease in the unemployment rate has a big impact on the economy, according to Economic Improvement Commission Director Harold Stanislawski.
“It means more potential for more spending in the local economy,” Stanislawski said. “The more people who are employed, the more that is spent on gas, lunches out, that type of thing.”
This region is lucky, he added, because there are a number of factors that help keep the economy are a more even keel. Among those is the number of people who have remain employed by working in the oil fields of North Dakota. They bring back their payroll to spend here, he said.
Communities experiencing success in the area also contribute to a stable economy here, he said.
With the expansion within the food industry, it keeps people in the region and employed.
“A fair number of people live here and work elsewhere,” Stanislawski said, “but spend their money at home.”
Another positive for the area’s economy is few people are being laid off. While jobs are not being created in huge numbers, neither are people losing their jobs, he said.
“Everything is fairly stable,” he said.
Perhaps the best game changer contributing to a stable economy is a strong agricultural base. Higher commodity prices have kept the economy strong, Stanislawski said.