Private gains

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It's good news for the Cape Girardeau area, but it's a sad commentary on the nation's economy.

U.S. Commerce Department statistics released earlier this month showed the Cape Girardeau area was one of five metropolitan statistical areas nationwide that had more earnings growth in the private sector than in government jobs. While that was a bright spot for this area, the report painted a picture of how most of the gains in earnings were fueled by military and federal stimulus spending.

The Labor Department examined earnings growth in 2009 for 366 MSAs, and 124 showed increases. Except for nine MSAs that remained unchanged, the rest all showed declines.

The Cape Girardeau area figures are encouraging. With an estimated population of 93,700, this MSA had personal income of $3.04 billion, up 2 percent from the year before. The unemployment rate here continues to stay below state and national levels.

Local officials involved in business development say the Cape Girardeau area's employment base is strong. Mitch Robinson of Cape Girardeau Area Magnet says many employers added a few jobs each rather than one employer hiring a large number of new employees.

The local MSA includes Cape Girardeau, Jackson, surrounding areas and a portion of Southern Illinois.

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