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How is the city of Joplin coping with the tight labor market? We'll get an update tonight at the city council meeting

During the informal portion of the Joplin city council meeting, we'll get an update on how the city is coping with hiring in this tight labor market. KRPS's Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more.

According to the October report released last Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the US rose to 3.7%.

In Missouri, the labor market is even tighter, with an unemployment rate of just 2.4%, according to the most recent jobs report released in September by the state's Economic Research and Information Center.

Pair that with the cost of borrowing money to purchase a new home, and you have a recipe where job seekers are less likely to want to relocate to take a job. Tonight, we'll get an update on how the city of Joplin is coping with staffing issues. According to a presentation available at, there are 97 open positions with the city of Joplin, which represents about 16% of the city's total workforce.

The vast majority of available openings are in public works, followed by police and parks. The problem could be much worse. The city has filled 50 positions in the last 90 days. The informal portion of the council meeting gets underway at 5:15 tonight.

Since 2017 Fred Fletcher-Fierro has driven up Highway 171 through thunderstorms, downpours, snow, and ice storms to host KRPS’s Morning Edition. He’s also a daily reporter for the station, covering city government, elections, public safety, arts, entertainment, culture, sports and more. Fred has also spearheaded and overseen a sea change in programming for KRPS from a legacy classical station to one that airs a balance of classical, news, jazz, and cultural programming that better reflects the diverse audience of the Four States. For over two months in the fall of 2022 he worked remotely with NPR staff to relaunch to an NPR style news and information website.