Herald JournalHerald Journal, Dec. 15, 2003

Winsted, Lester on list of cities losing jobs

By Paul Maravelas

Winsted, Lester Prairie, and Glencoe all made the list of "top 10 cities losing jobs" in the Southwest Central Economic Development Region which encompasses the counties of Kandiyohi, Meeker, Renville, and McLeod.

The report was released by the Minnesota WorkForce Center System and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Winsted placed fourth on the list, losing 79 jobs, with 1,240 employed in 2001, and 1,161 in 2003. Most of the losses in Winsted were in manufacturing, which lost 96 jobs; 10 jobs were lost in the accommodation and food trade, and six in retail.

These losses were offset by a gain of 23 jobs in construction.

Lester Prairie was listed as fifth, losing 78 jobs, with 535 employed in 2001, and 457 in 2003.

Glencoe placed third on the list, following Lake Lillian and Litchfield Township in Meeker County. Glencoe lost 100 jobs, with 3,285 employees in 2001, and 3,185 in 2003.

The report compares employment in the first quarter of 2001 with the first quarter of 2003.

Regional Analyst Cameron Macht of the Minnesota Labor Market Information Office said the comparison with the first quarter of 2001 is used because the economic recession reached Minnesota at that time.

The WorkForce Center also released a list of "Top ten cities adding jobs" in the region.

Hutchinson was first, adding 215 jobs, with 10,185 employed in 2001, and 10,400 in 2003. Litchfield was second, adding 137 jobs, with 3,451 employed in 2001, and 3,588 in 2003.

Dassel was seventh on the list, adding 40 jobs, with 744 employed in 2001, and 784 in 2003.

Dassel Township was ninth, adding 36 jobs, with 59 employed in 2001, and 95 in 2003.

Though Hutchinson dropped about 350 jobs in manufacturing, the city gained 73 jobs in professional and technical services, 180 jobs in retail, and more than 100 jobs in accommodation & food service, Macht said.

Willmar lost more than 100 jobs in retail, but managed to add jobs in manufacturing, finance, insurance, and real estate.

Litchfield cut close to 150 manufacturing jobs, but gained new jobs in accommodation and food service, and public administration.

The report noted that some industries in Central Minnesota added jobs, while others "have shown vulnerability to the forces of globalization and fluctuations in the business cycle."

Regional centers ­ including Hutchinson, Litchfield, and Willmar ­ saw the largest employment growth.

Cities and townships that relied on manufacturing were especially hard hit, such as Lake Lillian, Litchfield Township, and Glencoe.

A total of 59,380 employees are shown to be working in the region, according to the report.

The region's unemployment rate is 4.2 percent, with 2,608 unemployed.

A separate report for Wright County showed that Montrose lost 30 jobs from the first quarter of 2001 to the first quarter of 2003, with 228 employed in 2001, and 198 in 2003.

Waverly gained 129 jobs, with 254 employed in 2001, and 383 in 2003. Howard Lake gained 15 jobs, mostly in manufacturing and construction, with 1,296 employed in 2001, and 1,311 in 2003.

The statistics relate only to employers participating in the unemployment insurance system. In McLeod County, about 8 percent of the labor force consists of self-employed workers who aren't included in the statistics, Macht said.

In Wright County, about 7.5 percent were self-employed.

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