St. Louis Public Radio News
5:43 am
Fri January 23, 2009

Missouri's jobless rate hits 25-year high

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri's unemployment rate is now the highest it's been in 25 years.

The state's jobless rate for December 2008 is at 7.3 percent, up half a point from November.

And the state last month lost an average of 1,600 non-farming jobs.

John Fougere is spokesman for the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

"The conditions in Missouri kind of mirror the national outlook, and that is that the economy in Missouri is still struggling, as it is across the country," Fougere said.

The Show-me State's manufacturing sector was hit hard.

"Durable goods manufacturing was the area, in the month of December, (that) saw the largest employment decrease in the state, and that was about 2,500 jobs," Fougere said.

The good news: There are about 2,000 new jobs in health care, social services and private education.

Regionally, Springfield, Jefferson City, and St. Joseph gained jobs in December. But St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia and Joplin experienced job loss last month.

For 2008 as a whole, Missouri lost about 26,500 jobs.

That includes 9,500 jobs lost in transportation manufacturing, 4,600 in leisure and hospitality, and 2,000 construction jobs.