Duluth jobless rate hits 18-month low

If you doubt an economic recovery is underway, consider the local unemployment numbers released this week by the state.

The jobless rate dropped to 6.6 percent in Duluth in May, its lowest point since November 2008. Unemployment had peaked in Duluth at 8.8 percent back in March 2009.

Meanwhile, Minnesota’s (seasonally unadjusted) jobless rate is at 6.5 percent.

St. Louis County did almost as well with a dip to 6.8 percent while Northeastern Minnesota dropped nearly a percentage point to 7.3 percent, down from 10.7 a year ago.

Even more impressive is the Iron Range’s wild ride as mines shut down and then returned to full production in recent months. Hibbing’s rate in May was 7.8 percent, dramatically down from 18.4 percent a year ago. Virginia was at 8.8 percent, well below July’s peak of 17 percent.