COLUMBIA — Finding a job in Columbia is getting easier.
The most recent unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for Columbia is 6.1 percent as of November. That's lower than the state's rate in November, 9.2 percent, and the national rate, 9.8 percent.
The main reason for the differences in the rates is because of MU and the other colleges located in Columbia, along with the lack of a large number of manufacturing jobs, said John Fougere, spokesperson for the department of economic development.
"Twenty-five (thousand) to 30,000 students come to Columbia and go to school, which acts as an economic stimulus that other cities don't benefit from," he said.
Fougere said the students help support all of the local businesses, stores and restaurants. The university also provides many full- and part-time jobs year round.
"You're going to have a stable source of employment in Columbia no matter the economy," he said.
Bryan Barnes, the supervisor for work-force development at the Missouri Career Center, said more employers are hiring.
"I'm positive that our economy will continue to grow," he said. "I see Columbia being stable."
Anne Williams, president of JobFinders Employment Services, agreed.
"I think what happened in the last 18 months is people just didn't hire as many people," she said. "People just did without. Now it seems they're willing to hire another person."
The national rates are generally improving as well. After topping 10 percent in October 2009, 9.4 percent of Americans were unemployed in December. This national trend is true for Missouri as well.
"In '08 and '09, the state lost a significant number of jobs," Fougere said. "In 2011, we will see significant improvement."
"At IBM, they're bringing in 800 new, local, well-paying jobs," he continued. "We're hoping that'll continue. All signs are pointing that it will."