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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - After 16 months, the unemployment rate in the Rochester area has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The latest jobs data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development put the jobless rate for Olmsted County at 2.8 percent in July. That was down nearly a full percentage point from June and it marked the first time since March of last year the local unemployment rate has been below 3 percent.

Overall employment in Olmsted County rose above 88,100, which is the highest it has been since October 2019. The size of the local labor force grew to nearly 90,700, which is the highest it has been since it hit a record high of almost 91,700 in June 2019.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Across the region, Houston and Fillmore Counties were tied for the lowest jobless rates in southeastern Minnesota at 2.5 percent. The rate in Houston County was down a full percentage point from June, which was the biggest month-over-month drop regionwide.

Freeborn County reported the highest unemployment rate in the region at 3.7 percent. It was the second straight month Freeborn County has had the dubious distinction even though it is jobless rate is down 7-tenths of a percentage point from June.

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