Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Seasonal factors pushed unemployment rates higher across southeastern Minnesota in the first month of this year.

The latest jobs data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development shows the jobless rate for the Rochester area rose from 2.5-percent in December to 3.1-percent in January. That matched the unemployment rate for Olmsted County in January of last year.

The report also shows the size of the local labor force hit an all-time high in January. It’s now estimated at just over 88,200, which is almost 2000 higher than it was a year ago. Despite the rise in the unemployment rate, total employment in the Rochester area was near the record high at just under 85,500. The record set last July is over 86,300.

Winona County reported the lowest jobless rate in the region in January at 3.4-percent, while the highest rate was found in Fillmore County at 5.3-percent. Every County reported higher rates when compared to December but the largest increase occurred in Houston County where the unemployment rate shot up nearly 2 full percentage points to 5-percent.

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