Unemployment rates hit record low

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COLUMBIA - Missouri's October unemployment rate of 3.5 percent was the lowest for the state in over 17 years, according to data released this week by the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED). 

Columbia's September unemployment rate of 2.3 percent was the lowest statewide. Both averages are far below the national unemployment rate of 4.1 percent. 

Bernie Andrews, Executive VP for Columbia Regional Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) said these numbers are more than a holiday surprise.

"Seasonal work provides the opportunity for people to pick up temporary income or even a second income," he said. "It does help [unemployment rates], and we will probably see a lower rate in the coming months."

REDI is a group of Columbia investors committed to attracting employers to Boone County as well as expanding current business economy. 

Andrews credits food manufacturing and processing as well as a variety of regional office employers for Columbia's stable job market. 

"Agriculture is important for most parts of Missouri, but specifically for parts of Boone County, companies like Kraft-Hienz, PepsiCo and Quaker Oats are very important employers," Andrews said. 

KOMU 8 News reached out to 10 department stores across Columbia, and at least three reported trouble filling their seasonal positions. 

To read the full October jobs report released by Missouri DED click here.