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Reality Check: Job Growth In The Midwest

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The U.S. Government said Tuesday the nation's economy grew at a whopping 5 percent annual rate last summer. That's the fastest growth since 2003, including jobs coming back to the Midwest.

Nearly every state is gaining jobs, but the Labor Department reports Minnesota and Wisconsin are virtually tied in job creation.

Wisconsin posted 54,600 new jobs in the last year for a growth rate of 1.6 percent. Minnesota has almost as many: 54,200, or 1.5 percent.

That's good, but not as good as our western neighbors. North Dakota is number one in the country. The oil and gas boom boosted jobs by 22,000.

That number is smaller because there are fewer workers in the state. But by percentage, North Dakota jobs grew a whopping 4.8 percent, according to an analysis by Pew Charitable Trust's Stateline blog.

Only two states actually lost jobs in the last year -- Mississippi and Alaska -- and the Midwest is doing as well or better than most regions of the country.

National unemployment is dropping fast, and is now at 5.8 percent. State unemployment is even lower. In the Midwest, November 2014, unemployment rates stand at:

  • Wisconsin: 5.2 percent
  • Iowa: 4.3 percent
  • Minnesota: 3.7 percent
  • South Dakota: 3.3 percent
  • North Dakota: 2.7 percent

The Labor Department says a dozen states added more than 50,000 jobs in the last year. Texas led the nation in job growth with 417,000 new jobs.

Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check:

Joint Economic Committee/U.S. Congress: State By State Jobs and Unemployment Data
Pew Trust: Which States Created Most Jobs?
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary
New York Times: U.S. Economy Grew 5% In 3rd Quarter
Wis. Gov Scott Walker Political Ad: "Comeback"
Minn. Gov Mark Dayton Political Ad: "Coach"

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