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Lake County Adds 90 Jobs in October; LAIC Underperforms Brookings, History

Lake County enjoyed another job surge in October. The latest data from the South Dakota Department of Labor show 105 more people raised their hands in October in Lake County and said, "We want to work!" Lake County managed to find new jobs for 90 of those new labor force entries. Alas, that left fifteen more people still looking, meaning Lake County's unemployment rate bumped up from 4.1% to 4.3%.

On the bright side, Lake County has added 465 jobs since its five-year low of 6005 jobs last January. After launching a $2.3-million capital campaign to maintain status quo job growth and create 400 new jobs, the Lake Area Improvement Corporation is just 195 jobs shy of getting Madison back to the 6665 jobs it started with when Forward Madison launched in October 2006.

As usual, Lake County lags its neighbors in Brookings, where unemployment in October remained at 3.3%, a full point lower than Lake County's rate. Of the six counties adjoining Lake, only Moody currently has a higher unemployment rate (5.2%, down from 5.5% in September).

Lake County's October job growth underperformed historical seasonal trends. Since 1990, Lake County has seen average job growth of 2.6% from September to October. This year's September–October harvest job spike was 1.4%. Interestingly, September–October job growth has lagged the historical average every year that the Forward Madison job-growth initiative has been in operation. The lowest September–October growth, 0.8%, came in 2007, the first year of Forward Madison, before the national recession started.

That seasonal trend is reversed in Brookings County. Their average September–October job growth is 1.6%. Job growth between those two months in Brookings has been 2.0% or better in every one of the last five years. This year, the September–October harvest job spike in Brookings was 2.6%.