Jacology: Vanishing Jobs

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(KPLR) - Well zippedy doo dah, the unemployment rate in the St. Louis metro area is down to 7.7 percent. It hasn't been this low in three and a half years. But none of this is necessarily good news.

And that's because the jobless rate is probably dropping because so many people are dropping out of the labor force around here. And that happens either because they've become so discouraged and they've given up looking for work or because they've moved out of the area completely looking for jobs.

The numbers are getting a little spooky. The labor department reports that between spring of last year and spring of this year the metro area lost a total of around 35-hundred jobs. But that’s nothing compared to figures from the census bureau which show a disturbing long-term trend. The workforce in this area is shrinking.

That means the raw number of working-age people is getting smaller. We already know some of the reasons. Old metal bending industries like Chrysler closed taking thousands of high paying jobs with them. Pfizer laid off hundreds of highly skilled technicians and scientists. The large corporations that were traditionally the backbone of the area economy are shrinking or have vanished.

At the same time the new generation of high tech jobs that are fueling places on the coasts aren’t being created fast enough here. Part of it is the lack of venture capital money. Part of it is that entrepreneurial talent isn't flocking here. And the result? Fewer jobs.

I’m Charles Jaco and that's Jacology.