Have you been affected by unemployment? Missourians may have noticed that things are looking better.
Missouri's unemployment rate is on a decline. In the month of September, numbers dipped to the lowest point in nearly two years. In October, unemployment was 8.5 percent in Missouri ... compare that to the national average of 9 percent and things don't seem too bad.Here's some perspective ... the highest rate in the nation is in Nevada where they come in at 13.4 percent.So why the good news in Missouri?
Officials say it's because of Missouri's diverse economy. While other states were dealing with housing bubbles, Missouri was dealing with an ailing auto industry. The state went from five plants with 20,000 workers to two plants with only 7,000.Daniel Winn, with our sister station KRCG in Jefferson City, tells us that at one time, the only place in the country that made more cars than Missouri was Detroit. But in the past year, things are turning around. Winn states that according to John Fougere with the Department of Economic Development, "The Ford Plant in Claycomo, Ford announced they were going to be creating 1,600 new jobs with a new production line as they start making the new F-150 pick-up truck, on the other side of the state Wentzville announced that their GM plant is going to be investing $380 million dollars and adding another 1,600 auto manufacturing jobs". The auto industry isn't the only bright spot. Governor Nixon just inked a $4.4 billion dollar trade deal with China. That means that Missouri farmers will get a shot in the arm from exports like beef, pork and soybeans. Click here to read more about Missouri exports. "A year ago in 2010 they were up 35 from 2009 and that was a record for the state of Missouri ... but the kicker is that in 2011, for the first three quarters of the year, we're up 13 percent over that 35 percent so our exports are doing very well right now," Fougere told KRCG. Winn also asked about seasonal hiring and if it played a factor in the unemployment drop. He said the state uses a seasonal adjustment so the numbers are more accurate.