Missouri Unemployment Rate Remains Lower than Nation

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri Department of Economic Development released data Tuesday on Missouri's unemployment rate, revealing its 6.6 percent ranked lower than the national average of 7.6 percent in December 2012.

According to the the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate for January 2013 was 7.9 percent. December marked the 41th consecutive month Missouri ranked lower than the national unemployment rate.

Bernie Andrews of Regional Economic Development in Columbia said an ideal rate for Boone County is less than 4 percent. Boone County's unemployment rate in December was 4.0 percent.

"It's a positve outlook. I've seen the trends for unemployment continuing to go down. Columbia is typically two to three percent below than the state, federal unemployment," Andrews said.

Despite the reduction in unemployment, Missouri payrolls decreased by 4,700 jobs in January 2013. Andrews said several economic indicators can affect this rate, including educational level and the strength of different sectors of the area. For Columbia, Andrews said he noticed a different trend as a result of the decline.

"Some of the trends that I see, the housing market is starting to come back but there hasn't been a lot of new job creation but the unemployment rate is going down. We are starting to see things like foreclosure lowering, the housing market increasing," Andrews said.

Unemployment rates for Callaway, Cole, Moniteau, Osage, and Howard counties decreased in December by one percent over the same time last year.

However, some unemployment rates increased by one percent -- including Platte County from 6.0 percent to 6.7 percent.