REDI Report – June 27, 2015

Best assets to market are local people

We continued to receive some promising news in recent days as our May 2015 unemployment rate was released. Last month, Laclede County recorded an unemployment rate of 6.6 percent. This was up slightly from our April figure of 6.5 percent, but we continue to be way ahead of where we were one year ago when our May 2014 unemployment rate was 8 percent. This was also the best overall unemployment rate during the month of May that we have had since 2008.

A few things are going on here. First, we are growing our overall labor force as students graduate and move into the work place or others commute to us. We are also putting more people to work than in recent years.

This is something we need to be proud of. The recession was tough on the nation as a whole. Lebanon and Laclede County were certainly not immune from that struggle. However, we are starting to see some nice signs of recovery and this is attributed to so many people working hard to turn things around. Our workforce survived and continued to find ways to improve itself through training and education. Our employers continued to invest in our community and county even when times were at their most difficult. Our educational system continued to work hard to find ways to help provide the best quality education for our youth so they were ready for the job market or their college careers. It literally takes everyone playing some role at some point in time to help us survive the tough times and thrive in better times.

When you think of assets that we are able to market to those looking to locate either their businesses or families here, or in some cases both, we must take a look at the core of this – our people. And earlier this week I was reminded of how blessed Lebanon and Laclede County are to have very civic minded people. It was the annual change in Lebanon Rotary President and outgoing President Joe Knapp took a look back on his year in office. He showed us a slideshow of the people who had worked hard as Rotarians to make a difference in our community. It was a great visual reminder of just what we have here in Lebanon that other communities don’t necessarily have – many dedicated people working for the greater good of our area. And Rotary is just one example of many civic and faith-based organizations in Lebanon and Laclede County that are doing wonderful things in our region.

So when you see good news items like our improving job situation, it is nice to think about how so many people and so many things happen that help bring us to where we are. Thank you for being a part of this community. Your contributions do not go unrecognized.

In closing, I want to invite those of you who have a Facebook page to like the new Lebanon-REDI Facebook page. One of our goals this year has been to provide better communication to the public. This Facebook page is another step in that effort. You can directly access it at

Have a wonderful 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

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