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Editorial: State's economy getting stronger

A report issued last week by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) represents good news for the state.

With the addition of 6,200 jobs in February, Minnesota has now added a total of 32,300 jobs in the last three months, according to DEED -- and regained more than half of the 156,300 jobs that were lost during the recession.

The DEED report did note that Minnesota's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate actually went up 0.1 percent to 5.7, which is still considerably lower than the national rate of 8.3. Still, the addition of new jobs has to be considered a positive that will help more Minnesotans earn money -- which translates into greater statewide purchasing power.

In our backyard, the unemployment picture has been even brighter than that of the remainder of the state. In January (the latest month available), Nobles County's jobless rate was 4.9 percent, or 0.7 percent less than the state rate. (Rock County and Jackson County came in at 4.2 and 4.3 percent, respectively.) By that measure, if people who live and work in our region focused on buying locally, our local economies would continue to be quite vibrant.

Rconomists indicate that every dollar spent at a local business is circulated four to seven additional times locally. That's all the more reason to maintain a focus on job development right here at home, not just across Minnesota.