Lacking Job Skills Impact Unemployment Numbers

By KBJR News 1

August 3, 2012 Updated Aug 3, 2012 at 4:15 PM CST

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Some bad economic news for parts of the Iron Range. A new report finds unemployment rates are up, but it's not entirely due to a lack of jobs.

New data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development shows unemployment rates went up during the month of June for cities across the Range.

Here's a break down.
Hibbing:
May 6.0% June 7.3%
Virginia:
May 6.8% June 7.5%
Grand Rapids:
May 8.4% June 9.0%
(Source: DEED)

However, according to Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce President, Bud Stone, the number isn't due to a lack of jobs, but rather people not having the right skill sets for the jobs that are available.

"On the Iron Range there are ample opportunities for people with the correct skill sets. What we're finding now is that our employers are actually telling us that they are having a hard time finding employees that match the skill sets that are needed."

Stone says that thousands more jobs will soon become available due to the anticipated expansion of several mining operations on the Iron Range.

The data from DEED shows Northeastern Minnesota unemployment is at 6%. The state unemployment rate is sitting at 5.8% for the month of June.

Kevin Jacobsen
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