SIKESTON - The Sikeston area's unemployment rate dropped again in October according to the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
Missouri's unemployment rate also continued to drop in October, falling to a seasonally adjusted 5.2 percent. The rate peaked in June at 5.7 percent and has been edging down since. The number of Missourians who are unemployed has decreased by 7,200 over the past 12 months.
"Once again the unemployment rate continues to be an encouraging economic indicator for our state," said DED Director Joseph L. Driskill in a DED's press release. "We are pleased that the percentage of those unemployed in Missouri continues to be well below the rest of the nation."
Missouri's unemployment rate is better than 26 other states in the country, Driskill said.
Sikeston DED Director Bill Green agreed the new statistics suggest economic recovery has begun to reach the region. Scott, Stoddard and Mississippi counties all experienced drops in seasonally adjusted unemployment rates over the past months.
"For the past several months the economic conditions in Southeast Missouri and in Sikeston in particular have begun to respond to the economic recovery occurring across the nation," Green said. "Companies that had postponed expansion or relocation have now begun to implement their increased employment and capital investment."
Green said the current employment outlook in the area is positive and the DED's emphasis will remain on encouraging employers to adopt a wage and benefit program that will provide a living wage for all employees, even those in entry-level positions.
"The challenge will be to continue encouraging our local employers to expand their operations and to continue marketing our community to commercial and industrial prospects that have indicated an interest in our community."
The DED reported a statewide decrease of 3,300 jobs since September.
The decrease comes from job losses in the manufacturing and leisure and hospitality industry super sectors. The onset of cool, wet weather in early October and a relatively late reference week put a dent in the seasonal leisure industry and could have contributed to the employment dip, according to the DED. Employment drops in the manufacturing industry have been attributed to expected seasonal improvements that did not occur.
"The manufacturing industry tends not to do a lot of hiring this time of year," Sikeston Career Center Supervisor Janie Thurman said. "After the first of the year, there should be an increase in number of hires."
The Sikeston Career Center helps find employment for residents of Scott, Stoddard and Mississippi counties. Thurman said that while hiring is slow during the holiday season, they are still receiving a large number of applicants looking for work.
The employment decreases in the manufacturing and leisure and hospitality sectors were partially offset by increases in most other industry groups.
Construction and health care industries have continued to be particularly fertile sectors of Missouri's labor market over the past year.
Other losses were seen in the professional and business services group, which includes temporary help services.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.