Unemployment nudges up a bit in April, an insignificant bump to state labor analysts who see an improving economy as we head into summer. The state unemployment rate for April was 4.6%, up a tenth of a point from March. State Labor Analyst Bill Niblack calls the change statistically irrelevent. He points to two other numbers. The unemployment rate has dropped nearly a full percentage point from April of 2005, when it was 5.5% And he notes Missouri broke a record for jobs: 2,757,500. That broke the old record of 2,756,300. He expects the number of jobs to increase in the next few months. Business services saw the creation of 3,200 additional jobs in April. Tourism, education, health services and construction all added jobs. Manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities lost ground. Ford’s extended lay-offs at the Hazelwood plant, which is slated to close, hurt the manufacturing sector. Still, Niblack says an overall look at the numbers discloses an improving economy. Niblack adds Missouri is moving into an important season as tourism, construction and related industries gear up for summer.
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