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State Unemployment Dips to Lowest Rate in 5 Years

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- State unemployment fell again last month -- down from 6.9 percent in September to 6.5 percent in October.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Missouri's unemployment fell again last month -- down from 6.9 percent in September to 6.5 percent in October.

That's the state's lowest rate since 2008 and now lower than the national average for 50 consecutive months.

Even still, at the Missouri Career Center in Springfield, nearly 4,000 job seekers walk through the doors each month.

"Our goal is to connect people to jobs," Workforce Development Director Mary Ann Rojas said.

Related Link: Missouri Career Center

Rojas said current job seekers must learn to adapt in an ever-changing job market.

"We see a huge demand for those STEM occupations -- that's science, technology, engineering and math," Rojas said. There's also a big demand for anything in the healthcare field and the trades."

Rojas said that while unemployment numbers in the Ozarks have improved significantly, jobless rates for young people is higher.
 
"It's at an all-time high. The unemployment rate for the general public is at about 6 percent, but for our youth it's 22 percent," Rojas said.

"We find them competing for jobs with older workers who are working longer or have been laid off and are looking for work," she said.

That's what brought 20-year-old Savannah Cooper to the Career Center.

"They help you build your career for the future. That's why I'm here. I want a new future for my daughter," Cooper said.

The center has about a dozen programs to help job seekers of all ages. They provide classes and workshops that help job seekers enter, or re-enter, the workplace.

"Just because I became a young parent, and was forced to drop out of school, I don't want to be an uneducated person and become a statistic. I want my horizons to be open to millions of things -- whatever I really want to do," Cooper said. "I want to do something with my life."


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