Missouri Unemployment Rate Rises

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- For the first time in more than a year, Missouri`s unemployment rate has gone up.

The state`s jobless rate rose in July by one-tenth of a point to 7.2 percent, reflecting a loss of about 7,700 jobs.

It`s the first time the rate has gone up in Missouri since June of last year. The blame is being placed on the heat and the drought for drying up jobs in fields like construction and landscaping.

But whatever the reasons, those still looking for work are trying to stay optimistic, despite the latest less than encouraging figures.

"If you keep trying anything is possible," said 19 year old Tiffany Willis, one of hundreds of job seekers who turned out for a job fair Thursday in West St. Louis County.

Organizers say the turnout was good but not great, which may reflect a reversal of misfortune.

"There are less people here and more vendors, so I would say the economy is a little better than it has been in the past," said Kendra Rains, the local representative for National Career Fairs, which sponsored the one day event.

"It hasn`t been a lot of fun," said 62 year old Don Simpson, who has been out of work since December.

"You pound the pavement, you apply to websites, you do what you can," he said.

Ironically, some companies say they came to the fair because they`ve been having a hard time filling jobs the traditional way.

"I don`t know if we are not advertising it appropriately or if people don`t think that`s how to find a job and this is a better avenue, people want to do things more face to face," said Karen Clark, of H and G sales, a local door hardware supplier.

Danella Lubar is looking for work in electronic medical records.  She was laid off two years ago.

"Some days I am pretty down so but life goes on," she said.

Many of the jobs being offered at Thursday`s job fair were sales positions, which pay only commission.

Despite the dreary news about the state`s unemployment rate, even with the jump in July, Missouri`s rate of unemployment is still an entire point lower than the national average.

As for bubbly Tiffany Willis, it`s all about staying optimistic.

"It`s been kind of bumpy but I am pretty sure I can find something," she said. "I have a great smile and a great personality."

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