Well, the new statistics are out and we are at or below record numbers for our area.
We recently received October unemployment numbers as they always run about 30 days behind. According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), Cape County has a 1.9% unemployment rate. We have a workforce of 40,925 and 40,135 of them are working. Scott County has dropped to 2.4% and Perry County is at 1.7%.
Now I completely understand the discussion concerning the accuracy of defining the workforce for the purpose of determining unemployment. We also understand this number says nothing of underemployment. However, the process is consistent so the comparisons are valid for drawing some conclusions. These numbers support what we’ve heard from our local businesses. The labor market is tight and getting tighter.
At the Chamber, we continue to focus on making sure our youth understand all available options upon graduation from high school through programs like connectCAPE. And we will enhance our website, www.capeishome.com, in the coming year as we ramp up the recruitment of people to our area.
Another side effect of a tight labor market is increased wages. Employers tell us this is a very real situation in the Cape / Jackson metro. While this is good for workers, it may bring challenges for employers. One area of the local economy that will need to be watched is inflation.