Economic News Not Promoted in Missouri

The state ranks number one in a category that political and economic development leaders would rather you not know about.

The state received an unwelcomed designation.

Out of only three states that lost a statistically significant number of jobs last month, Missouri placed first on the list by losing 11,800 jobs.

In the other two states cited in the report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Tuesday, Washington lost 11,600 and Nevada lost 9,800. 

The largest month-over-month decrease in jobs occurded in New York, which lost 14,000 jobs. However, the state has a much higher number of people employed, therefore the amount was not considered statistically significant by researchers.

Back here in Missouri, political and economic development leaders continue to promote that the state's unemployment rate has dropped to 8 percent, sitting at the lowest point in three years.

After all, it is an election year. Plus, for anyone running for re-election on a job-creation campaign, almost too conveniently, a person must be actively seeking a job to be considered unemployed.

Therefore, when payrolls drop, it is possible for the state's unemployment rate to drop as well.

Unfortunately for the politicians, though, the economic news -- good or bad -- won't stop.

The number of mass layoffs also increased last month, according to another report by the statistical agency released on Wednesday. There were 67 mass layoffs by employers in Missouri, increasing unemployment claims by 6,586, compared to 54 mass layoffs impacting 4,763 in December 2010.

Politicians and economic development leaders will most likely, however, point to another report released on Thursday, showing initial weekly unemployment claims dropped by 3,626 last week.

Missouri was one of 20 states with a decrease of more than 1,000 weekly claims, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Labor. Nationally, unemployment claims increased by 21,000.

Be wary of rosy outlooks from the campaign trail. While it may seem obvious, remember that fewer unemployment claims does not necessarily mean more hiring. Plus, watch those payroll numbers.

By Brian R. Hookbrhook@missourijournal.com, (314) 482-7944

Hook is editor of Missouri Journal, which tracks the economy across the Show-Me State

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Karl Frank Jr. January 28, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Considering more jobs were added to the national economy last year since 2005 and 3 million added total, what's Missouri's problem? Since employment is a lagging indicator that continues a modest trend up, is Missouri just behind the curve a bit? Considering trillions of dollars in loss wealth in the Great Recession of 2007, I'm cautiously optimistic about where things are going. Personally, my business had its best two months to finish the year. Considering we went from talks of a double-dip recession 9 months ago to 6 straight months with 100,000 or more jobs added every month for 6 months, I think things could be much worse to say the least. Missouri is its own worse enemy.
Bob Usher January 30, 2012 at 08:42 PM
I would like an explanation from the predominantly Republican Missouri legislature, why they fought so hard to kill the China hub at Lambert airport. They are all about jobs and lower taxes, but they refused to give a job creating venture tax incentives to bring construction and warehousing jobs to Saint Louis. They would be screaming at the top of their lungs if the Democrats had done that.
Karl Frank Jr. February 03, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Unemployment down to 8.3% and 257,000 jobs added to employers payrolls. Missouri still behind the curve?
Brian R. Hook February 03, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Short answer: Yes. For longer explanation, look for next post. Thanks for your comments - BRH
Brian R. Hook February 03, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Good question. I'm more of a problem provider than a solution provider. And I still have this silly notion that a free market will take care of itself in the end, and any type of intervention seems to always backfire. Thanks for your comment. - BRH


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