JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Before taking office, Governor Eric Greitens campaigned on the promise of bringing more jobs to the Show-Me State while downsizing state government.
But new numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that job numbers in the private sector are not growing at the same level as they did under Gov. Jay Nixon during his final year, but are rather plateauing.
A monthly survey shows that the Mid-America Business Conditions Index rose slightly in October up from 58.2 in September to the current 58.8, indicating what economists call growth neutral, while the October Employment Index also showed a slight rise from 52.0 in September to 52.9 in October.
According to MissouriEconomy.org, a site run by the Missouri Department of Labor, Missouri’s civilian labor force is down roughly 50,000 from a year ago. Missouri’s estimated labor force, as of Sept. 2017, is3,055,726, compared to the Sept. 2016 numbers of3,106,194. Of the estimated labor force, an estimated2,939,486 is employed.
According to the data, during the time period of Feb. 2016 to September 2016, the total private sector job growth was 16,500. From Feb. 2017, just one month in office for the Republican governor, to Sept. 2017, that number was 2,100.
The interesting thing to note is, that while private sector jobs seem to be hovering around the same area, government jobs saw a major increase, jumping up by roughly 20,000 jobs from May 2017 to July 2017. That particular spike is the largest jump to have occurred in the past two years in terms of government employment.
Greitens has already identified areas to trim the fat, so to speak, endorsing the report from a task force to eliminate or consolidate a number of boards and commissions.
However, Missouri’s unemployment rate has dropped roughly one percent in about one year’s time, standing at 4.7 percent in Sept. 2016 and dropping to 3.8 percent in Sept. 2017.
This story originally appeared in The Missouri Times.