The state’s business community is expressing concern over what it calls staggering job losses in Missouri – a total that puts the state at the top of the list of all states for the 2002 calendar year. U.S. Labor Department statistics show Missouri lost 77,700 jobs during the period, making it tops in that dubious category – more than 15,000 ahead of Ohio, the number two state. Missouri Chamber of Commerce President Dan Mehan and other business leaders claim Missouri is sending a message that it is not friendly to business. He says lawmakers must follow through with workers’ compensation reform, tort reform, and other measures that will attract new businesses and keep existing ones here. Economic Development Director Joe Driskill responds by saying there are other factors that have led to Missouri’s troubles in the job arena. For instance, the decline of the airline industry which was doing very well in the 1990s but has since fallen on hard times. Driskill says there is no silver bullet cure for Missouri’s economy, but he believes a quality workforce and good educational system will help bring about a turnaround.
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