DEC. 9, 2014
October Unemployment Rate Drops Considerably, St. Joseph Earns Statewide Economic Distinction
The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Tuesday released its monthly report on national, state and local unemployment rates. St. Joseph’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent, the lowest it has been since April 2007.
St. Joseph continues to be well below state and national averages, which are 5.9 and 5.8 percent respectively. While other Missouri cities also saw drops in unemployment rates this month, with Columbia at 3.1 percent and Jefferson City tied with St. Joseph at 3.8 percent, St. Joseph has a distinction that others do not.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce recently commissioned Gallup Inc. to perform a study of Missouri Business Dynamics between the years 1977-2011. That study showed the Missouri’s major metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) grew at different rates at different times during the last three decades.
“Growth slowed over most of that time in each MSA except St. Joseph (one of the top consistently growing MSAs in the country 2001-2011),” it stated in the Gallup report.
While every other Missouri MSA saw a decline in either or both employment growth or increase in firms, St. Joseph was the only city to see growth in both categories.
“I recently got a call from the Missouri Chamber saying Gallup may call me to figure out how we do it,” said R. Patt Lilly, President and CEO of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce. “We were able to continue growing local business and employment thanks to St. Joseph’s strong agricultural companies, as well as a diverse wealth of other employers.”
In times of recession, the world’s population still has to eat. St. Joseph is the top exporter of goods worldwide from Missouri behind St. Louis and Kansas City. So agricultural science companies continued strong production and animal health companies, which work closely with the agriculture market, were able to grow. Food processing companies also maintained its strong presence in the local economy.
But besides the agricultural, animal health and food processing companies, St. Joseph also supported its companies in the manufacturing, insurance, health care, back office and logistics and warehousing business clusters.
“St. Joseph should be aware of and proud of its economic success,” Mr. Lilly said. “With the hard work of the City of St. Joseph, Buchanan County, State of Missouri and local business investors, we’ll continue to be a statewide leader in 2015 and the years to come.”