(BEMIDJI, MINN) While some Minnesota businesses have been allowed to open, communities across Northern Minnesota continue to see rising rates of unemployment with no immediate hope for any change.  The latest information from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development show an average unemployment rate for “Line 3 Counties” of 20.9 percent.  In Cass County the unemployment rate is now 28.9% and rates are going up weekly in every one of these key counties. 

The rising unemployment rates are renewing calls from local officials for Governor Walz to support the Line 3 Replacement project and not allow any more delays.  “We are looking at what has now become a “Great Depression” for too much of Minnesota,” said Jim Lucachick, a Beltrami County Commissioner where the unemployment rate is now 20.7%.  “What is even worse is that each week these numbers get worse and the challenge we face to recover becomes more severe.  Line 3 is the only significant opportunity we have to immediately put people back to work this year and give people here any hope at such a dire time.”

Line 3 would immediately create more than 4,000 jobs and invest more than $2 Billion of private-sector dollars into Minnesota at a time when it has never needed it more.  The MPCA recently decided to hold a contested case hearing on key permits for the project. This will delay any permits being issued until November, with construction being able to immediately begin after that.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) recently re-issued a certificate of need and route permit for Line 3.  The agency is now going through a process that involves requests by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and other groups to have the agency reconsider the decision to issue the certificate of need.  In 2019 the Minnesota Department of Commerce (MNDOC) legally challenged the 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.

“We are calling on Governor Walz to join us in saying YES to Line 3 and NO to the Minnesota Department of Commerce filing any more appeals,” Lucachick said. “Looking at these numbers and knowing how much people here are hurting, it’s beyond clear that it is time to make sure there are no more delays and that people can get back to work this year.”

Latest unemployment rates for Line 3 Counties as of June 9th

County   Percentage
Kittson 9.3%
Beltrami   20.7%
Marshall 13%
Pennington 18.4%
Polk 17.1%
Red Lake 16.3%
Clearwater 24.3%
Hubbard 23%
Cass 28.9%
Crow Wing 26%
Aitkin 23.3%
Carlton 24.6%
St. Louis 26%
Wadena 22.1%
AVERAGE   20.93%

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