Minnesota's unemployment rate is still better than the nation's -- but not by much. Minnesota's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate crept up from 8 percent in February, to 8.2 percent in March. The national rate is 8.5 percent.
Dan McElroy, the Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development, said although the numbers may not seem encouraging, there is good news behind them.
"Initial claims for unemployment were down last week," he said. "They're down about 2,000 a week over their peak in January and for the first time, the total number of people collecting unemployment is down."
Bright spots are appearing elsewhere as well. McElroy said 400,000 Minnesotans got jobs in the fourth quarter of last year. He said that the healthcare, education, finance and computer-related industries were among the most likely to hire.
As far as the national economy is concerned, McElroy said he sees a turnaround in the not to distant future.
"I think we'll see the job losses slow, and I think it'll be late 2009 or sometime into 2010 before we see growth," McElroy said. "The improvements we see are leading indicators and unemployment is a trailing indicator of activity in the economy."