Some unemployed Missourians who are struggling to find work are about to discover their search is getting harder.
Several Missouri Job Service Centers are closing because of lack of federal money to keep the centers open.
The Missouri labor Department says some of the centers are Missouri towns of Caruthersville; Moberly; Mexico; Monett and Warrensburg.
“The sequester, combined with the base line budgets of these job service centers, is similar to before the recession hit,” said Clyde McQueen of the Kansas City Full Employment Council.
McQueen says the cuts are at least as painful as the recession because there are now fewer jobs and more people seeking them.
The February unemployment rate for the state of Missouri was at 7.4%. That is lower than the national jobless rate for the month.
McQueen however, fears that jobless rates in the 7% range will “now be the new normal”.
The US Dept. of Labor says the highest unemployment rate in the Kansas City metropolitan region in February is in Leavenworth, Kansas. The rate there is 9.5%.
Kansas City, Missouri in Jackson County, has a jobless rate of 9.1%.
Ray County, Missouri reported a 9.1% jobless rate for the same month.
McQueen says closing some of those job service centers in small Missouri towns will complicate the job search in many ways, some of them not seen at first glance.
“What’s going to happen,” says McQueen, “is those people are going to have to drive to another center. In some cases, that is going to be a 40 mile trip, one way.”
McQueen says the federal cutbacks may also hit the Kansas City Full Employment (FEC) offices, too.
He says some of the 15 or so part times may face lay-offs. Some of the FEC branch offices may also have to relocate, in search of cheaper rent.