Missouri job growth strong, Blunt says

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Missouri job market remains strong, adding 10,800 jobs in March, Gov. Matt Blunt said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters from Southeast Missouri.

In the news conference, Blunt acknowledged Missouri has lost manufacturing jobs since he took office in January 2005 but said overall job growth has been strong with 93,000 jobs added to payrolls.

The state has created a better climate for business growth, he said, by overhauling workers' compensation laws and targeting economic development programs at jobs that pay better-than-average wages.

"We welcome virtually all employers, and we have been solid in terms of job growth," Blunt said.

The strong jobs growth in March isn't the final verdict on the impact of a state minimum wage increase approved by voters in November, Blunt said. By a 3-1 margin, voters approved increasing the minimum wage to $6.50 an hour from $5.15.

"I think it is difficult to say if it has had a drag effect or has been positive," Blunt said.

Check back at www.semissourian.com or read Wednesday's Southeast Missourian for details.

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