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County jobless rate best in metro

by Mark Vasto
Landmark reporter

As the country's economists continue to assess the slow moving but steadily improving job outlook in the country, Platte County's 47,000-strong workforce can already attest to one thing: it's working.

According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED), Platte County lowered their unemployment rate from 4.2 to 3.6 percent in 2003, 1.2 percent less than the state average and the best rate in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The national rate in December was 5.4 percent.

For Platte County, the news is especially good considering the losses experienced at KCI airport in the air transportation sector. In 2001, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center estimated that the KCI area would lose 7-13,000 jobs due to mergers and closings.

Platte County has countered the recent lull in the nationwide job market and the regional transportation and utility market with an expansion in other sectors. Coupled with a highly educated workforce and high quality of life for its children - the county ranked second in a statewide poll for children's overall well-being - the county's workforce now earns more than any other area outside of St. Louis and is the second fastest growing county in the state.

Platte County narrowly edged Clay County in the DED survey, with Clay showing a rate of 3.8 percent. Cass County had a rate of 4.7 percent and Jackson had a rate of 5.8 percent.

The best rate in the state belonged to education-rich Columbia, which posted a 1.9 percent unemployment rate. Reynolds County was the least employed county with an unemployment rate of 11.9 percent.

“We are pleased that Missouri's unemployment rate is stable and still well below the rest of the nation," said DED Director Kelvin L. Simmons. "Our low unemployment rate and job growth during the past year are both indicators of great economic momentum in our state. We anticipate this trend continuing as we move into the new year."

Top Employers of Platte County

1. American Airlines 2400
2. CitiCards 2036
3. Park Hill School Distr. 1282
4. Harley-Davidson 900
5. Argosy Casino 850


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