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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Employment in the Rochester area last month was the highest it has been since the pandemic hit last March.

The latest jobs report from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development shows overall employment was close to 85,600 in February. That is an increase of about 1200 from January but it is still about 1000 lower than the employment number reported in March of last year. The low point for overall employment in Olmsted County during the pandemic occurred in May last year at just under 81,800.

The unemployment rate for the Rochester area dipped last month but it remained well above the jobless rate reported a year ago. The 3.9 percent rate for Olmsted County was down three-tenths of a point from January, which was the first decrease in the rate in three months. The jobless rate reported for February 2020 was 2.6 percent.

Winona County reported the lowest unemployment rate in southeastern Minnesota at 3.7 percent. Wabasha County reported the biggest decrease with a half percentage point drop to 4.6 percent, while Dodge County reported the highest jobless rate in the region at 5.2 percent.

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