Franklin County continues to have one of the highest unemployment rates in the region, exceeding the national and state averages.
According to recently released figures from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, part of the state’s department of economic development, Franklin County’s unemployment rate for March, the most recent figures available, fell to 9.2 percent.
In February, the unemployment rate was 10.2 percent, according to the Missouri Department of Labor. It was 9.2 percent in January.
The March unemployment rate puts Franklin County above every neighboring county except Washington County.
The following are the March 2012 unemployment statistics for counties neighboring Franklin County:
Washington County, 11.7 percent;
Gasconade County, 8.4 percent;
Warren County, 9 percent;
St. Charles County, 7 percent;
Jefferson County, 8.8 percent; and
St. Louis County, 7.4 percent.
The unemployment rate reported in St. Louis City in March was 9.8 percent.
Missouri’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.4 percent for March.
According to MERIC, the state’s unemployment rate is at a 39-month low, having fallen 2.3 percent since peaking at 9.7 percent in August 2009.
Franklin County’s unemployment rate has often overshadowed that mark — the rate was over 10 percent already this year for the first time since March 2011.
In January and February of last year, the rate was 11.4 and 11.6 percent respectively.
In 2010, unemployment was over 10 percent for nine months of the year.
In 2009, unemployment exceeded 11 percent in the county all year long, with a yearlong average of 12.2 percent.
Figures for April are not yet available from the state, but national unemployment statistics are more up to date. The unemployment rate in both March and April was reported at 8.2 percent.
According to the Associated Press, that rate could continue to decrease as some people who are unemployed have given up looking for work. Those people are not counted among the unemployed.
Those seeking unemployment benefits fell last week by the most in more than three months, to a seasonally adjusted figure of 365,000 nationally.
The four-week average increased to 383,500, however.