Mid-Missourians react to lowest unemployment rate since 2008

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COLUMBIA – The White House announced Friday the lowest unemployment rate since 2008, sparking feelings of both optimism and frustration for some local job seekers.

Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, released a statement saying the national unemployment rate fell below 5 percent for the first time in eight years. January’s national unemployment rate was 4.9 percent. Missouri’s most recent unemployment rate dipped below the new national average at 4.4 percent.

“It’s tremendous news to hear that the unemployment rate is very low,” said John Scalise, the rehabilitation services manager at Job Point, an organization that offers a variety of job search services in Columbia.

While Scalise said he’s happy to hear unemployment is down, he said people who are currently looking for a job still have many challenges ahead. He said businesses are making their applications longer and are looking for more qualifications.

Auxvasse resident Belinda Beaston was laid off from two jobs last year and is currently looking for work.   She said news of lower unemployment is nice, but it doesn't show the whole picture.

“It is just a number. Statistics really don’t mirror what’s happening out here with people, and the way that they have to deal with things,” she said.

For those looking to find employment, both Job Point and the Missouri Job Center in Columbia provide resources.