One of St. Joseph’s major employers is coming under new ownership. Wire Rope Corporation of America is being bought by a private equity firm. About 450 people work at the St. Joseph plant. Company officials do not expect any layoffs. The company is now owned by KPS Special Situations Fund, a corporation turn-around company that buys companies with financial problems and sells them when they’ve become profitable again.
An auto parts company with three plants in Missouri says it will announce late next month the locations of eight plants it is going to close. Dana Corporation also plans to modify or reject union contracts and eliminate retiree health care benefits. Dana says the plan will help it get out of bankruptcy. It has plants in Ballwin, which it has been trying to shelve for more than a year, Cape Girardeau and Columbia. Dana makes engine and chassis components and axles. It says brutal global competition, outrageous employee benefits, and inefficient plants have caused it to lose more than $2 billion in the last five quarters.
The state’s newest unemployment figures show the seasonally-adjusted rate down a tenth of a point. The September unemployment rate for Missouri, seasonally-adjusted, is down to an even five percent….If it’s not seasonally adjusted, the rate is 4.8 percent, also down a tenth from August. Economic Development analyst Bill Niblack says construction, manufacturing, and professional and business services were up. Government employment was down 57-hundred….because a lot of teachers returned to work in August instead of September…..Retail trade also was down, about 23-hundred. The estimated total non farm payroll employment in September totalled more than two-and-three-quarters million people.(For a better look at “seasonally adjusted,” listen to the audio clip with this story)
Unemployed Missourians have a new way to keep track of what they’re getting and how long they have until the benefits run out. Unemployed workers in Missouri are eligible for 26 weeks of jobless benefits, as much as 270-dollars a week, within a calendar year. Some workers are off work…get a job…lose it…get a new one…lose it….and along the way they can lose track of how much they’re supposed to get…and how long they can expect coverage. Department spokesman Tammy Cavender says they can go to the department’s special website, provide some personal information for security reasons, and then tap into their own status page. Cavender says benefits are often received through direct deposit and nothing is sent to the person through the mail. She says the new system will let the person check to make sure the benefit has been paid. She says the new system will save a lot of time and work for jobless Missourians as well as a lot of time and work for department employees who work at the department’s four call centers fielding calls asking for the kinds of information that will be available on the web page. Unemployed Missourians will have to make weekly applications for their benefits and report on their job-finding efforts. They cannot do that on this web page, but they can do it on another one in the department system.
Missouri’s unemployment number has reached its lowest level since May of 2001. Statistics released by the State Department of Economic Development show statewide unemployment was down two-tenths of a point to 4.4 percent in May. Compared with figures from May of 2005, the jobless rate in Missouri’s larger cities was down, as well. Kansas City saw a decline from 5.5 percent to 4.4 percent, St. Louis saw its rate dip from 5.4 percent to 4.6 percent, and Springfield dropped from 4.3 percent to 3.3 percent.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says Missouri is one of the top six states in the country in lowering its jobless rate. The Bureau says unemployment in Missouri was 4.4 percent last month – down a full percentage point from May of 2005. Agency figures show the biggest job growth has come in trade, transportation, and utilities. The biggest losses have come in manufacturing.
Related web sites:
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A new measure signed into law will keep people fired from their jobs for drug and alcohol abuse from receiving jobless benefits. And, the Senate sponsor of unemployment insurance reforms, Senator Luann Ridgeway of Smithville, insists the measure won’t punish people for behavior long in that person’s past. Governor Matt Blunt and backers of the changes say it is not aimed at punishing someone for something he or she might have done in the past, just current behavior that could be a danger to the individual or co-workers. Blunt says the changes were needed for the state’s embattled unemployment insurance system to remain viable in the future.
Related web sites:
Missouri HB 1456
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.
The number of Missourians filing unemployment insurance claims is on the decline. A report from the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ Division of Employment Security shows that in April, the number of initial unemployment claims was just over 22,000 – a decrease of 12 percent from the 25,000 claims filed in April of 2005. Over the past twelve months, the number of initial jobless claims dropped 8 percent, from just under 424,000 to 389,000. The unemployment rate in April was 4.6 percent, slightly below the national average of 4.7 percent.
More new jobs in Missouri in February. The state’s seasonally adjusted non-farm employment rose by 7,600 – an increase of 0.3 percent from February of last year. But not all the news was positive. Missouri experienced a slight increase in its seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February as it rose from 4.7 to 4.8 percent. The job increases were spread throughout most industry groups, with most – about 3,900 – being in the leisure and hospitality industries. Trade, transportation, and utilities employment grew by 3,000, while education and health services employment rose by 1,200.