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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The latest jobs data from the state shows Rochester area employers have added back thousands of jobs in recent months but the number of jobs is still thousands below the totals reported before the pandemic.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development says the unemployment rate for Olmsted County was 4.5-percent last month. That is down from the 6.2-percent rate for August and is nearly 55-percent below the peak jobless rate reached during the COVID-19 shut down in May at 9.8-percent. Despite the dramatic improvement, the local unemployment rate is still over double the 2-percent jobless rate from September of last year.

September also marked the fifth straight month that Olmsted County had the highest unemployment rate in the region after years of nearly always reporting the lowest monthly jobless rate across southeastern Minnesota. While the Rochester area's 1.7-percentage point drop from August was the largest decline reported in the region, the lowest unemployment rate was found in Houston County at 2.8-percent, which is less than a half percentage point above the jobless rate reported in Houston County in September of last year.

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