Here’s some good news for the end of the year and looking ahead. From Bloomberg/AP:

Minnesota’s unemployment rate held steady at 7.1 percent in November, remaining nearly 3 percentage points lower than the national rate and down slightly from the year-ago rate of 7.6 percent, the state Department of Employment and Economic Development reported.

Perhaps more importantly, the article notes that “the state has added 44,800 jobs so far this year, a growth rate of 1.7 percent. That beats the national rate of 0.6 percent.” In the chart below, you can see Minnesota’s unemployment rate is lower than that of most states to our east, and though those to our left have lower rates, their number of employees is also lower (indicated by the circle size).

Unemployment rates in the Midwest. Cooler colors mean lower unemployment rates.

Unemployment rates in the Midwest. Cooler colors mean lower unemployment rates.

What does all this mean? Well for current and future MBA students it means there is more opportunity for strong summer internships and well paying jobs after graduation here in Minnesota. The Twin Cities is home to 21 Fortune 500 companies, the most per capita concentration of any U.S. city.

Beyond students, it means Minnesota is feeling less of the recession than other states, and has less of a hole to dig out of. It may not be the most exciting or shiny Christmas gift, but it is something to be glad about.