Despite a half-percentage point jump in Springfield unemployment from December to January, the rate has been less than four percent since last fall, and officials are encouraged moving forward.
The Missouri Career Center- Ozark Region held a career fair in January, is conducting events this week and has another one planned next month. Communications Coordinator Megan Short says that when businesses get involved, it’s a good indication that the city’s unemployment rate could drop.
“All of these different events just show that everyone is still looking for employees. It’s still a great thing. We still have a lot of job seekers out there. We have people who are underemployed and now they’re looking for a better position that’s a better fit for them.”
Short says this indicates growth in the local economy.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Springfield’s unemployment currently is 3.9 percent, lower than the national unemployment rate of 4.9 percent. Strong said Springfield is unique because it’s willing to collaborate with businesses and connect them with career centers at all of the local universities, as well as its own establishment.
“We’re trying to connect all of those dots to understand where the businesses are and what they need, and then push that information back to the job seekers and back to the local universities.”
On April 14, the Career Center will partner with the Lumina Foundation to offer local college students information about career pathways pertaining to their strengths and interests, and available resources.
Earlier this month, the Springfield City Council approved a bill that would allow Kraft-Heinz to expand in the area and add 110 jobs.
“It’s a really good thing for our community just to bring any additional lines and to expand. That always helps with unemployment. Unemployment is already low, but any time there’s a major expansion like that, it definitely helps with the unemployment rate,” Short said.
For a full listing the services offered by the Missouri Career Center and to learn about upcoming career fairs, visit their website here.