Missouri Career Center reflects on workforce as US unemployment rate declines

Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 9:23 PM CDT
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Predictions about job losses were off by 10 million jobs. Instead of losing 8 million more jobs, the US economy added 2.5 million jobs as the recovery from coronavirus gets underway.

The jobs report from May is the biggest gain since 1939. There's a long way to go, of course, but the new numbers are a hopeful sign, especially since experts expected the unemployment rate to jump to 20%.

Missouri and Arkansas unemployment rates have not been updated for the month of May. But, both states were below the national percentage in April.

"We have shifted from helping those file for unemployment to actually helping those people that we see find jobs," said Katherine Trombetta with the Missouri Career Center.

Trombetta said since they have re-opened their building, job seekers have come in a steady pace.

"We thought it would go one of two ways. That we wouldn't see very many people because they were still on unemployment and maybe were hesitant to go back to work, or we could get inundated with people," Trombetta said. "Really, it hasn't been either or, it's been a nice steady pace."

The US unemployment rate has dropped down to 13.3%. But, according to the Department of Labor Statistics, it's still up by almost 10% from February. It says that is due to the impact of the coronavirus and efforts to contain it.

Trombetta said they're seeing about 40 job seekers a day.

"Which is lighter than before the pandemic," she said. "However, we think that number is going to pick up the further we get into July because those pandemic unemployment benefits are going to run out."

You can can still qualify for some unemployment if you're only working part-time. Trombetta urges people to look into all of the job openings around the Ozarks.

"In our MO-Jobs system, we still have about 800 to 1,000 jobs available in the Ozark region. We have lots of opportunities who maybe have been permanently laid off," she said. "I would encourage them to come in and let us help you."

If you're wanting to get into a new career field you don't feel qualified for just yet, the career center can help.

"If you're looking to switch careers in a high growth industry like transportation, manufacturing or health care, we can certainly help connect you to some training," Trombetta said. "If you qualify, tuition is paid and it's free to those individuals."

She said the career center is also looking for candidates to attend their "Green for Greene" training program. The program is funded by a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) program.

The program provides job seekers with a variety of the certifications needed for high paying "green" jobs.

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