The state’s economic development department claims payrolls increased by 21,100 in January.
However, the Missouri Department of Economic Development has not yet released any data regarding unemployment or nonfarm payrolls.
The department sent out a short press release Tuesday, but did not respond to questions from Missouri Journal regarding the payroll data.
According to the release by the department, “nonfarm payroll employment increased by 21,100 jobs in January.” Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon also said the state “added more than 21,000 new jobs” in January, in a prepared statement.
The state also reported the unemployment rate dropped to 7.5 percent. However, it is possible for both the rate and payroll numbers to drop as people become discouraged and leave the workforce.
Therefore, is the payroll comparison to January 2010 or December 2010?
If it is December, are the payroll numbers higher than in January of last year?
The economic development department did not respond to questions again on Wednesday.
Therefore, Missouri Journal filed a state Sunshine Law request for the data.
This is not the first time the department has not responded to questions or requests.
Earlier this month, the department would not say whether a search is underway for a new director, after the director resigned when the Missouri Senate delayed voting to approve the appointment.
Nixon then promptly named Jason Hall, who briefly served as director while waiting for confirmation by state lawmakers, as deputy director without any kind of announcement.
Plus, late last year, Nixon touted the headline-grabbing total of 10,900 jobs created in the manufacturing sector. Turns out, though, the total dropped to 1,400 when including every sector.
And unsurprisingly, the department did not promote the number-one ranking of Missouri in January by the federal government. Only three states lost a significant number of jobs in December and Missouri topped the list. Employment dropped by 11,800 jobs compared to November.
To track down the latest data, Missouri Journal also contacted the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A spokesperson said Wednesday that the agency works with states to gather the information.
However, she said states sometimes release the information before the national release.
The average unemployment rate in Missouri for 2011 dropped .8 percent from 9.4 percent in 2010 to 8.6 percent last year, according to research released Wednesday by the federal statistical agency.
The agency is set to release the state unemployment and payroll data for January on March 13.
Will the state release the data before the federal government? Will the data match?
Missouri Journal will be sure to check the data and report the results.
By Brian R. Hook, [email protected], (314) 482-7944
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