Unemployment On Rise In Scotland County As State Reaches Eight-Year Record High
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July 25, 2002

Unemployment On Rise In Scotland County As State Reaches Eight-Year Record High

National economic woes have trickled down to the state level but don't appear to have made it as far as Scotland County at least not as far as the workforce is concerned.

Scotland County employment numbers remained stronger than the rest of the state as just released June figures revealed the highest unemployment rate in Missouri in the past eight years.

Missouri's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate climbed in June to its highest level since 1994, as payrolls saw only small seasonal employment gains, according to the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The adjusted unemployment rate climbed to 5.4 percent, up from last month's 4.8 percent, and the highest it has been since February 1994.

Scotland County remained below the state record levels but did witness a significant increase from May to June, going from 3.3 up to 3.9 percent. However the numbers are both lower than this time last year when Scotland County had 4.3 percent unemployment in both May and June of 2001.

Unemployment usually increases in June, as some students and other summer job seekers don't immediately find work. The increase in the unadjusted unemployment rate between May and June this year was 0.9 percentage points, however, much higher than the usual June increase. The unadjusted rate for June is also 5.4 percent.

Joseph L. Driskill, director of the Department of Economic Development, pointed out that these numbers probably overstate any underlying increase in unemployment, since May data had shown an unexpectedly large decrease. The seasonally adjusted June rate is only two-tenths of a point higher than it was in March and April.

"What these numbers show is that we still have a great deal of uncertainty in Missouri's employment conditions as we move through this recession," said Driskill. "Our seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has been see-sawing around an upward trend since late last year. Irregular movements in unemployment are not unusual, particularly in late recession/early recovery periods.

"While we are hopeful that a recovery period is just ahead for our state's economy, fluctuating unemployment numbers provide evidence that a period of sustained economic growth is not likely to occur for a while yet."

Driskill pointed out that Missouri's numbers show an increase in construction jobs and a leveling off of job declines in the manufacturing sector.

The national rate has also been fluctuating around an upward trend, as well. It fell in the early months of 2002, when the economy seemed to have turned the corner, but has tended to go back up since, as recovery seems more uncertain.

Since the summer of 2001, Missouri's unemployment rate has been below the national rate, often by more than half a point. The June hike in the Missouri rate narrowed the difference, bringing Missouri's rate within half a point of the nation's 5.9 percent rate. The national unadjusted rate for June is 6.0 percent.

Nonfarm payroll employment remained essentially unchanged in June. Unadjusted data showed a gain of 1,000 jobs. For a change, the goods-producing industries did well, with construction employment going up by 5,800 jobs and manufacturing gaining 1,400. Although individual manufacturing industry gains were small, more industries added jobs than cut them. Increases in employment, particularly in construction, are usual in June, so the seasonally adjusted data show smaller increases. Construction employment went up by 2,200, while manufacturing gained a scant 300. Still, this represents improvement. It was the first gain that construction has seen since small increases last November and December. Manufacturing employment appears stable, after losing more than 14 percent of its employment in the 45 months ending in February 2002.

The service-producing industries, on the other hand, did not fare particularly well in June. On a seasonally adjusted basis, losses in business services, engineering and management services, finance, and transportation and utilities more than offset gains in some other industries, resulting in a net loss of 4,700 in the private service-producing sector.

The unadjusted data show the usual seasonal decreases in educational employment, in both the public and private sectors. Eating and drinking places employment was down by 1,000 jobs, not seasonally adjusted, probably the result of summer cutbacks at food service operations in schools and colleges. Employment was up seasonally at hotels and in amusement and recreation services. Employment gains in wholesale trade were more than offset by losses in transportation and utilities.

Over the past year, nonfarm payrolls have lost 60,600 jobs, including 19,000 in manufacturing. Construction employment is down by 8,500. The private service-producing sector has lost 29,900 jobs, led by the 7,500-job drop in business services but spread through most other industries as well.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates (unadjusted) during June were: Wayne 11.6; Douglas 11.5; Pemiscot 11.0; St. Louis City 10.0; Madison and Washington 9.9; New Madrid and Reynolds 9.6; Wright 9.4; and Linn 9.1.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates (unadjusted) during June were: Nodaway 2.3; Boone 2.6; Atchison 3.2; Putnam 3.3; Adair and Phelps 3.4; and Lewis and Sullivan 3.5.



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