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REDI Report – September 5, 2015

Unemployment numbers for local area remain pretty low

I want to begin this week by wishing everyone a very happy and safe Labor Day weekend. I hope you are all able to spend some time with friends and family during this final summer holiday of 2015. For those having to work during the holiday, I hope there is at least some time off for you to enjoy a little rest and relaxation this 3-day weekend.

We have received some additional positive news when it comes to employment for Lebanon and Laclede County with last week’s release of our unemployment rate of 6.7 percent for July 2015. While we were up 3/10 of a percent from June, as is typical this time of year due to seasonal downturns, this was the best overall July unemployment rate for Laclede County since 2007. We were also 1.6 percent lower than this time one year ago and that’s even with a larger labor force of nearly 700 more people working in Laclede County as opposed to this time frame in 2014. Our unemployment rate for the first seven months of the year was 7 percent versus the rate of 8.8 percent for the first seven months of last year.

I will continue to say that these solid numbers and general better outlook is a result of the hard work of everyone contributing at some level throughout the process. For that I say “thank you all.”

I’ve been blessed during my first six months on the job to get to tour many of our businesses and industries. We have so many unique stories in Lebanon and Laclede County of business owners and their paths to success. Some started their careers as an employee elsewhere and later broke off to form a business of their own. Some knew from day one that they wanted to go into business for themselves. The entrepreneur spirit is certainly alive and well in Lebanon and Laclede County.

One major focus area going forward for Lebanon-REDI is to find additional ways to support these entrepreneurs. As I have mentioned in the past, firms employing two to 100 people are the ones adding the most jobs to the economy so this is a very important sector to focus on. I’m also excited about some of the things on-going at our local educational institutions now and into the future that are definitely going to provide a support structure to entrepreneurs.

Bottom line is that it is a great time to be in Lebanon and Laclede County and I for one am excited about the future. I hope you are too!

Also, I am very proud this week to represent Lebanon and Laclede County at the Missouri Governor’s Conference on Economic Development which is being held in St. Louis. My primary goal is to bring back new knowledge that will benefit us all. In my next column, I will review some of the topics that were addressed at the conference.

Again, have a great holiday weekend!

(Brian Thompson is the President/Chief Executive Officer of Lebanon-REDI. He may be reached at his office at 200 E. Commercial Street at 417-533-5627, by mobile phone at 417-288-9737 or by e-mail at brian@lebanonredi.com)