By Mike Scott
Unemployment is creeping higher in Northeast Missouri. Clark County’s unemployment rate has risen to 8.7 percent in February of 2014, a big jump from January’s 7.1 percent figure, and much higher than the 2013 average of 7.3 percent. The increase is despite having dwindling labor force available.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, Clark County had a labor force of 3314, its third smallest in more than a decade. Of that, 288 were unemployed in February, up from 235 a month earlier.
Lewis County 7.2 percent unemployment in February, up from 5.8 percent in January and the 2013 average of 5.8 percent.
Scotland County had a 6.2 percent unemployment rate in February, up from 5.9 percent in January and 2013’s average of 4.8 percent.
Knox County had the lowest rate in this corner of the state, with a 5.5 percent unemployment rate in February. January’s rate of 4.7 percent, and the 2013 average was 4.5 percent.
Across the river, Lee County’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.5 percent in February, down from 8.2 percent in January, and down from 2013’s average of 7.5 percent.
Statewide, Missouri’s average unemployment was 6.4 in February. Both January 2014 and the 2013 state average were 6.0 percent.