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Published September 22 2010

North Dakota's jobless rate remains lowest in the country

North Dakota’s job market held steady in August, retaining the lowest unemployment rate in the nation despite a minor drop-off in payroll figures, according to data released Tuesday.

The state’s unemployment rate climbed a tenth of a percentage point from 3.6 percent in July to 3.7 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis. That’s still the lowest in the nation by a comfortable margin, followed by South Dakota at 4.5 percent. Minnesota had the 11th-lowest rate at 7.0 percent.

Nevada again posted the highest rate in the country at 14.4 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent.

North Dakota payrolls did fall by about 1,000 jobs for a modest dip of 0.3 percent. Most of those losses came in retail, financial services, education and health.

The Fargo metro area picked up about 200 jobs, posting gains in a number of sectors despite losing 400 retail positions. The payroll figures are not seasonally adjusted.

North Dakota’s unemployment situation in August was an improvement from the same month in 2009, when the state posted a jobless rate of 4.4 percent.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Marino Eccher at (701) 241-5502