Local Businesses Report Modest Growth
COLUMBIA -- When Johnny Beshears opened Taphouse last year, he knew the restaurant would not enter the market in a time of booming economic growth.
Perhaps a signal of the improving economy, Beshears said he was "plesantly surprised" by the restaurant's first year of operation. After the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released an analysis Tuesday showing excellent job growth in Boone County in 2009, local business owners like Beshears can attest to the figures.
According to that study, jobs grew by just 0.2 percent nationally. In Boone County, that number jumped to 2.5 percent.
"The economy's not been a factor for us, and we're loving it," Beshears said.
More established owners like Laura Bullion report improvements as well. Her small store, Bluestem Missouri Crafts in downtown Columbia, drew more customers this winter. According to Bullion, the spring weather helps flood the streets with potential buyers.
"We're seeing lots and lots of people on the streets," Bullion said. "We're getting a lot of mothers and daughters, and mothers and sons."
Unemployment rates serve as just one measure of an economy, but Boone County beats the competition in that category. At 6.4 percent, its rate stands significantly lower than neighboring counties like Callaway County (8.2 percent), Cole County (7.4 percent), Audrain County (9.1 percent) and Moniteau County (9.7 percent).
Those encouraging statistics still don't mean the county has solved the unemployment problem.
"There are a lot of people out there looking for jobs right now," Beshears said. "We have a lot of applications. Fortunately for us, we don't have very much turnover."