MInnesota News Briefs: State unemployment rate inches upMinnesota News
-- Minnesota's unemployment rate inched up slightly in January following revisions to December's jobless numbers.
ST. PAUL - Minnesota's unemployment rate inched up slightly in January following revisions to December's jobless numbers.
State jobs analyst Steve Hine says despite the 12,100 jobs added in January the unemployment rate did increase from that revised 5.4 percent in December to 5.6 in January. He says that occurred largely because of an increase in our labor force participation rate. Trade, transportation and utilities led all sectors in January, adding over four-thousand jobs. Other gains occurred in construction and leisure and hospitality.
The state House of Representatives Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee this morning debated a bill that sets aside five-point-one million dollars in the next biennium, increasing state funding to counties that fund community corrections and probation services. The bill was sponsored by DFL Representative Sheldon Johnson, and he says it makes good financial sense to supervise nonviolent offenders instead of locking them up. He says 13 out of 14 convicted offenders are currently being supervised rather than in prison. He adds that probation is also more effective in keeping previous convicts from reoffending.
A new report shows there are three-thousand more administrators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and other support staff working in Minnesota schools than there are teachers. The report was funded by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, and it shows that there has only been an eight percent increase in student enrollment since 1992, but a 68 percent hike in the number of admistrative and support staff employees. Researcher Dr. Ben Scafidi says if staffing levels had only increased at the same rate as student enrollment, districts in Minnesota would have saved around $800-million during that time. Minnesota is one of 21 top-heavy states in the U.S., with a higher ratio of support personnel to students than teachers per student.