JEFFERSON CITY — The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to the lowest level in a year in January, but that good news was not shared by many counties in the Parkland region.
The statewide seasonally adjusted rate for January was 5.1 percent, a drop of .4 percent from January, according to the Missouri Department of Economic Development. That is also lower than the 5.5 percent reported for January of 2002.
“This unemployment data for January is certainly good news for Missouri and another indication that our economy is starting to rebound from this recession,” said Joseph L. Driskill, director of the Department of Economic Development. “The size and composition of our workforce is showing new signs of stability and we are becoming more optimistic.”
State officials pointed out another encouraging aspect of the latest figures. It is that January normally experiences the highest seasonally adjusted rate of unemployment because employment is at its lowest point for many industries.
“It is very significant that our unemployment rate remains well below the national average and that we are at a 13-month low,” Driskill said. “In a short time February numbers will be released and we are hopeful this positive trend will continue.”
The national rate, not seasonally adjusted, for January was 6.5 percent as compared to an unadjusted rate of 5.7 percent for Missouri.
The news was not as good for counties in the Parkland. The jobless rate for Washington County jumped from 10.1 percent in December to 11.4 percent in January. Even as much as that increase was, the rate for January was still lower than the 11.5 percent reported for that county a year earlier.
The rate in St. Francois County also showed a significant increase. It went from 7.9 percent in December to 8.3 percent in January. It also neared the 8.5 percent rate recorded for January of 2001.
Iron County remained near the double-digit rate with a 9.7 percent level of unemployment reported for January, unchanged from December. That was also the rate reported a year earlier.
In Madison County the rate went up from 8.6 percent in December to 8.8 percent in January. That is still well below the 10.8 percent rate the county had a year earlier.
The jobless rate in Ste. Genevieve County increased sharply — at least for what that county normally experiences. It went from 5.3 percent in December to 6.4 percent in January. It still was lower than the 6.7 rate of January 2001.
Perry County also had an increase from 3.1 percent to 3.8 percent for January, but remained the lowest in the region.
The rate in Jefferson County also increased to 6.1 percent in January from 5.4 percent a month earlier. The latest figure is just below the rate recorded in January of 2001.