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Unemployment numbers decrease in Joplin - KOAM TV 7

Unemployment numbers decrease in Joplin

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Local economists say a recent uptick of building in Joplin has steadily improved unemployment numbers.  The recent local unemployment numbers came from December.  But Missouri's Workforce Investment Board says there's been a trend since August.

The unemployment rate for August was about 6%, then 5.8% in September.  In December, officials say it declined to 5.3%.

All of the rates are based on average data from both Jasper and Newton counties, but local economists say Joplin makes up the bulk of that data.  One economist says new restaurants in Joplin seem to have helped lower unemployment.

"They're not always looking for fast food jobs.  They'll be looking for something, because they need to pay the bills.  And a lot of times, they might not be aware of advancement opportunities that might be available in the hospitality sector.  In fast food, in hotels, and other entertainment type venues around," says Jasen Jones with Missouri's Workforce Investment Board.

"A lot of the restaurants might be part time jobs, and geared towards college students or retirees, for instance.  That would factor into that.  It's not to say that they would not have full time opportunities, as well.  And some folks are able to utilize that daytime work, or even move up the career pathway into management positions within the hospitality sector and fast food, and so forth," says Jones.

The seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate was 6.6% last month.

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