SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, all of Missouri’s eight metro areas’ unemployment rates decreased this month.
In Springfield, the unemployment rate is currently 2.8%.
“2.8% is unseen,” said Dr. Lance Renner, Dean of General Education and Business at Ozarks Technical Community College. “Just shows you how good this economy is right now. We’ll hear economists talk about ‘full employment,’ when they say full employment, it doesn’t mean that everybody has a job. It just still means there’s an unemployment rate, but it’s usually in the 3.8-4.2 range. So 2.8 is extremely low. It’s everybody that wants a job has a job.”
According to Renner, to be included in the labor market you have to be actively looking for employment.
“Employers are seeking more workers,” said Renner. “There’s a little bit of a shortage in labor. So, they’ve increased the amount they’re willing to pay per worker. And it’s bringing folks off the sidelines and into the market for employment.”
One example of a shortage is school bus drivers.
“There’s definitely a shortage of drivers across the country and all labor fields are experiencing it right now,” said Deputy Superintendent of Operations, John Mulford. “So, with that, we did try to increase our compensation for our drivers. Our starting pay this year is now $17 an hour.”
Mulford also says this job is offered to people without any experience.
“With that, it comes with full benefits, a retirement package, health insurance, vision, and all of those things,” said Mulford.
Many employers are also offering more incentives such as paid leave.
“Different employers will offer educational pay, child care, or retirement benefits,” said Renner.