(BEMIDJI, MINN)           The latest information from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) shows the average unemployment rate for “Line 3 Counties” has increased again and is now almost 22 percent.  This is the 3rd week in a row the rate has increased since Minnesotans for Line has been tracking the data and the latest information continues to show the increased need to find ways to get people back to work. 

The updated data follows a key decision yesterday by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to deny requests for the agency to review its approval of the certificate of need and the route permit for Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project.  Construction on the largest privately funded infrastructure project in Minnesota could start as soon as this November if there are no additional delays, bringing thousands of jobs and an investment of more than $2 billion to communities across Northern Minnesota.

“Behind these numbers are the growing number of people who are struggling to survive through an economic challenge that is beyond what many of us have ever experienced, said Rich Siegert, Owner of the Edgewater Group in Bemidji, MN.  “We need to find ways to change things now and Line 3 is a premium construction project and the best way to bring jobs, dollars, and hope to our communities.  The agencies have done their job and it’s now time for Governor Walz to make sure Minnesota does not do anything to stop or delay this project and the immediate chance it represents to get people back to work.”

Line 3 would immediately create more than 4,000 good paying, union jobs.  The project will also invest approximately $2.6 billion into local economies and Enbridge has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars preparing for construction to start.  All of this at a time when Minnesota has never needed the jobs and investment more.  The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s decision to hold a contested case hearing on key permits for the project means the earliest construction could start would be mid-November of this year.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) yesterday voted 4-1 to deny requests from project opponents to reconsider its approval of both the certificate of need and the route permit.  The decision to deny the requests now gives groups opposing the project 30 days to file a notice that they intend to file legal appeals of the agency’s decisions. 

In 2019 the Minnesota Department of Commerce (MNDOC) legally challenged the PUC’s certificate of need, creating additional delays for what is now the most thoroughly reviewed pipeline project in Minnesota history.  If Governor Walz has the MNDOC file another legal challenge to the PUC, it is unlikely that Line 3 construction could start this year.

“It’s now up to Governor Walz to stop any more delays and make sure we can be guaranteed that things will get better this year,” Siegert said. “We need him to say NO to the Minnesota Department of Commerce filing any more appeals and YES to bringing our local economies back to life. It’s that simple and Line 3 is the best and only way this will happen.”

Latest unemployment rates for Line 3 Counties as of June 25th

County   Percentage
Kittson 10%
Beltrami   21.5%
Marshall 14.2%
Pennington 19.4%
Polk 18%
Red Lake 17.5%
Clearwater 25.5%
Hubbard 23.8%
Cass 30%
Crow Wing 26.7%
Aitkin 24.1%
Carlton 25.8%
St. Louis 27%
Wadena 22.9%
AVERAGE   21.88%

Percentage of people filing for unemployment insurance as a share of the 2019 available labor force

Data provided by Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development


Contact: Susan Goudge | 218-556-3617