Despite Rising Unemployment, Columbia Rate Low
COLUMBIA - In July 2012, the unemployment rate in the state of Missouri went up one-tenth of one percent to 7.2 percent, making it the first time the unemployment rate has gone up in over a year.
But despite the slight increase in unemployment, Columbia's unemployment rate remains lower than cities such as Jefferson City, Springfield and Cape Girardeau.
According to data released by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, as of July 2012, Columbia's unemployment rate was 5.7, while most other cities in the state were closer to six percent or higher.
Missouri Career Center Functional Leader Deanne Stubbenfield told KOMU 8 News she thinks the population in Columbia plays a huge part in the lower unemployment rate.
"One of the interesting things about Columbia is that there is such a diverse population, as well as a diverse range of jobs available to people in Columbia," Stubbenfield said.
So what is it about this small, central Missouri city that makes it a haven for those looking for jobs?
Executive Vice President of Columbia Regional Economic Development Inc. (REDI) Bernie Andrews said the lower unemployment rate could be attributed to the health care and universities located within the city.
"We have the university as a major employer, and they're actually growing. We have healthcare, which is a major sector and insurance. And those other two sectors of the economy has been pretty stable," Andrews said.
He also referenced the presence of such large companies as IBM moving into Columbia as a reason for low unemployment.
For new Columbia resident Marvin Walton, a lower unemployment rate in Columbia means less stress in his job search.
"It gives me more drive to actually go out and seek employment that I'm actually looking for, as opposed to just opting for the next, the next job that is available," he said.
Walton said he is looking for jobs in manufacturing, and a lower unemployment rate only makes him more optimistic.
"I have put out more than five applications, so I am waiting for my phone to ring off the hook," he said.
For more information on job openings in Columbia as well as all around mid-Missouri, visit jobs.mo.gov.