Archive for Research

2019 SW MO Economic Profile & Targeted Industry Analysis

magnifying glass laid on top of various charts

The WIB recently completed a preliminary examination of the region’s economy and targeted industries to help inform its upcoming four-year operations plan.  The report examines population and job trends, population characteristics, underemployment, commuting patterns, industry and workforce characteristics, and more.

Individual counties and partner regions are also examined, including those within the service areas of the WIB, the Harry S Truman Coordinating Council, and the MOKAN economic development partnership, as well as the Joplin MSA and the Barry/Lawrence County region.

Click HERE to access the report, or for more information on the WIB’s research services.

Underemployment Examined in SW Missouri

word cluster with jobs related terms like career, work, job, skills, underemployment

The provision of labor market information is one of the many business services available to employers through the local workforce system in Southwest Missouri.  Oftentimes businesses are in search of wage information in an effort to remain competitive and ensure their recruiting is effective. The Workforce Investment Board is able to provide detailed and timely data on both entry-level and experienced wages, as well as a variety of other elements by municipality, county, drive-times, and more.

The unemployment rate is often a topic of discussion, especially with such low levels in recent years. Less often discussed is underemployment, which can mean different things to different people.

The underemployed can refer to those who are in need or in search of additional employment, to those who are employed at less than full-time status, and to degreed individuals who are employed in non-degree positions. The underemployment data below is specific to the latter, examining college graduates aged 22-65 working in jobs that don’t require a college degree as of the 4th quarter of 2018.

chart measuring unemployment and underemployment

Across all occupations, 7.2% of the jobs in Southwest Missouri are held by graduates working in non-degree positions. Those with the highest percentages of underemployed include Protective Service (17.8%); Arts, Entertainment, & Media (16.3%); Office/Administrative Support (13.2%); and Sales (12.6%) occupations. Those with the lowest underemployment include Education, Training, & Library (2.3%); Construction & Extraction (3.4%); Farming, Fishing, & Forestry (3.9%); and Maintenance (4.0%) occupations.

For more information, contact Sherri Rhuems.

Source: JobsEQ®

Labor Turnover Examined in SW Missouri

desk and chair with a vacancy sign

The provision of labor market information is one of the many business services available to employers through the local workforce system in Southwest Missouri.  Oftentimes businesses are in search of wage information in an effort to remain competitive and ensure their recruiting is effective.  The Workforce Investment Board is able to provide detailed and timely data on both entry-level and experienced wages, as well as a variety of other elements by municipality, county, drive-times, and more.

One data element that has recently become available is turnover, and the ability to examine it by industry and other elements.  While the data is not as recent as would be desired, it does offer some insight into the local labor market and job churn.  The figures below detail local labor turnover in Southwest Missouri by industry, age, and education level from the 2nd quarter of 2015 to the 2nd quarter of 2016.

 Bar graph showing Turnover by Industry 2015-16

Industries with the highest turnover rates included Administrative Support & Waste Management/Remediation (22.9%), Accommodation & Food Services (19.4%), Retail Trade (11.9%), and Construction (10.2%).  The lowest rates were in the industries of Educational Services (5.6%), Public Administration (5.8%), and Finance & Insurance (6.7%).

Chart indicating turnover by age 2015-16

As far as age, individuals aged 14-18 held the highest turnover rate (29.0%), followed by ages 19-21 (22.7%), 22-24 (18.0%), and 25-34 (11.7%).  The lowest rates were held by those aged 55-64 (5.3%), 45-54 (6.2%), 65+ (7.3), and 35-44 (8.1%).

Chart indicating turnover by education level 2015-16

As far as educational attainment, those for whom data was unavailable (those aged 24 or younger) held the highest turnover rate (21.7%).  Individuals with less than a high school diploma (9.4%), those with a high school equivalency (7.7%), those with some college or an associate’s degree (7.6%), and those with a bachelor’s or advanced degree (6.9%) all had rates below the overall 9.5% rate.

For more information, contact Sherri Rhuems.

Source: JobsEQ®

New Registered Apprenticeships in Southwest Missouri

Registered Apprenticeship

Southwest Missouri recently saw the addition of two newly developed apprenticeship programs registered with the US Department of Labor – MSW, Inc in Webb City and Cooper Gear & Manufacturing in Anderson.

Registered apprenticeship programs are a proven training model businesses can employ to help develop stable and predictable pipelines of skilled workers, and reduce turnover and increase productivity.  Employers can partner with local community colleges, tech schools, and other state and federal workforce system partners to develop customized training programs specific to their needs.

The Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri offers related, short-term pre-apprenticeship training options specific to a variety of industries.  This training includes drug screens, WorkKeys NCRC credentialing, soft skills training, resume preparation, mock interviews, computer skills, and financial counseling in addition to industry specific curriculum.  Pre-apprenticeship training helps students and jobseekers get a jump-start on their training and careers, and helps employers screen and recruit qualified candidates.

Business interested in learning more can contact Frank Neely at .

Public Notice for Plan Modification

The Workforce Investment Board of the Southwest Region, Inc. (DBA Workforce Innovation Board), the oversight body for the delivery of employment and training services to the Missouri Counties of Barry, Barton, Dade, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, and Newton, is submitting a modification for the region’s official Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) Plan.

The plan and proposed modifications will be available during normal business hours to anyone for inspection at the offices of the Workforce Innovation Board, 420 Grand Avenue, Joplin, Missouri, 64801. Additionally, the plan will be available for review on the WIB’s internet website at

Interested parties may comment or may petition for disapproval by sending written notice to:

Sherri Rhuems
Workforce Innovation Board
P.O. Box 1706
Joplin, MO 64802-1706


Planning and Research Section
Division of Workforce Development
P.O. Box 1087
Jefferson City, MO 65102-1087

Request may be based on the failure of the plan to address the needs of the area, a significant client interest, or the violation of statutory requirements.  Missouri Relay:   1-800-735-2966 (TDD) 1-800-735-2466 (Voice)

WorkforceZone Winter 2017: Workforce Strategies On-Track Amidst Change

Workforce strategies on-track amidst changeThe Winter 2017 edition of the WorkforceZone, the region’s quarterly journal for workforce development, features the theme of Workforce Strategies On-Track Amidst Change. The 14-page magazine-style format may be downloaded as a printer-friendly and tablet-friendly PDF. Check out individual articles online here at as well.

Navigator portal connects aid to those in need

Southwest Missouri has dozens of organizations ready to assist those in need.  However, finding up-to-date contacts and information on resources can sometimes be like finding the needle in a haystack.  The new Resource and Referral Navigator tool is coming soon to the new  The portal seeks to remove much of the hassle of connecting local solutions and services to customers through an easy-to-use online system.

Benefits of the Portal

  • No registrations or passwords to track 
  • Search by location, category, or keywords
  • Mobile-friendly and tablet-friendly
  • No cost to agency or customer
  • Results geared to local providers without getting lost statewide or out-of-region
  • Integrated with career and training tools

How You Can Help

  • Provide information to help build the online directory profile
  • Walk through the directory with your customers and encourage future usage
  • Share the new directory with partners and other stakeholders
  • Use the contact form (optional) to help facilitate tracking and follow up
  • Update referral forms with key fields to help fellow providers track and follow up:
    The Missouri Job Center system recommends core fields for effective hub referrals 
    Source:  DWD Issuance 24-2015,

Organizations interested in listing services may contact Frank Neely,, or 417-206-1717, Extension 108.

Categories of Aid Available; Navigation

People helping each other up a steep incline with headings "Sector Ready Workforce" and Missouri Job CenterWork:  Help Find Work, Career Planning, Skills and Training, Supported Employment, Volunteering, Help Pay for Work Expenses, Equal Opportunity

Money:  Financial Assistance, Government Benefits, Financial Education, Tax Preparation

Community:  Peer Support, Volunteering, Faith-Based Groups, Arts and Culture, Animals

Care:  Adoption and Foster Care, Daytime Care, End of Life Care, Navigating the System, Residential Care, Support Network

Food and Household Goods:  Community Gardens, Emergency Food, Food Pantry, Free Meals, Help Pay for Food, Nutrition, Baby Supplies, Clothing, Home Goods, Medical Supplies, School Supplies

Housing:  Emergency Shelter, Help Find Housing, Help Pay for Housing, Housing Repair, Weatherization, Miscellaneous

Emergency:  Disaster Response, Emergency Payments, Emergency Food, Emergency Shelter, Help Find Missing Persons, Immediate Safety, Psychiatric Emergency Services, Emergency Cash

Education:  GED/AEL/HiSet, English Language, Basic Computer Skills, Help Find Schooling, Help Pay for School, Preschool, Screening and Exams, Skills and Training, More Education Resources, Translation & Interpretation, Citizenship Skills, Credentialing, Transfers and Articulation

Transportation:  Transit Services, Help Pay for Transit, Vehicle Repair Assistance

Health:  Addiction and Recovery, Dental, Vision, Family Physician, Specialists, Navigating the Healthcare Exchange

Legal:  Ex-Offender Transition, Advocacy and Legal Aid, Mediation, Notary, Representation, Immigration

Population Served:  Layoffs, Young Adults (16-24), Veterans, Persons with Disabilities, Older/Retirement-Age Workers, Welfare, Ex-Offenders/Parole

Directory Fields:  Description, Details, Contacts, Location Details, Site Hours, Cost, How to Enroll, Languages Available, Additional Requirements (Eligibility), Category


Public policy perspectives needed for a jobless era

Assumptions around modern-day employment are increasingly anachronistic in the face of rapidly evolving technologies that are upending traditional job categories and occupations. In order to establish a more viable and adaptive model of employment in the near- and long-term future, which helps workers achieve personal fulfillment while also contributing productively to society, it is necessary for policymakers and leaders to reimagine how the working world will look and function. In a world characterized by rapid change that suggests new applications for our labor, how will we go about preparing for the future?

A thorough analysis of the current state and future of work cannot be fairly entertained without first establishing a basic understanding of what it is we currently know about jobs, how we measure and account for structural changes in employment, and the recognized limitations of how these definitions and measures are used to guide the decision-making of policy-makers.

Most often, policy analysts rely on data points such as the unemployment rate, labor market participation rate, employment-to-population ratio, and monthly job creation reports to inform their view of the current state of employment in the United States and to guide their policy-making choices. It is their fixation on these outcome metrics that discourages policy-makers from grappling with the fundamental shifts that are occurring as part of the evolution of jobs and work. Furthermore, by ignoring the changing circumstances of work, leaders overlook alternative strategies that may have greater public benefit, but might negatively affect these traditional measures of our overall economic health.

The paper includes in-depth analysis on the scarcity of good jobs; Reduction of the Psychological, Social, and Economic Benefits of Work; the Problem of Today; Trends for Tomorrow; Proactive Policy Making and Public Leadership.  Policy considerations for the future include:  New Metrics for Understanding Jobs and Work; Alternative Sources for Family Income; Tax Structures and Social Benefit Delivery; Rethinking the Purpose of Education and Job Training; and More Jobs May Not Be the Answer

Check out the full white paper in the Social Innovations Journal from Josh Copus in collaboration with the National Association of Workforce Boards.  The full paper is online.

Missouri improves in Rankings that Matter

The annual State of the States report from Site Selection magazine includes the third edition of  Rankings that Matter. Along with legislative, demographic, economic and education data points, the publisher also ranks all 50 states on elements relevant to corporate location decision-makers. Two of the six rankings cover workforce quality: Rank in total ACT National Career Readiness Certificates (NCRC) earned per capita among working-age adults (as of December 2016) and College Attainment with the percent of working-age population ages 18-65 holding a two-year degree or higher (using Summer 2016 data from the Lumina Foundation). With the NCRC, Joplin remains the best performing metro in Missouri.

With a 20% improvement in Missourians with the NCRC now surpassing 80 thousand, Missouri ranks 20th nationally on the NCRCs per capita. Neighboring Kansas and Arkansas have similar NCRC rankings at 23rd and 24th, respectively. Oklahoma, a long-time champion of NCRC, ranks 7th in this measure.

NCRCs Per Thousand

For local comparison, the WIB generated NCRC Per Thousand rankings of Missouri’s six metro areas and the totals overall for Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Joplin’s ranking of 49 NCRCs Per Thousand is four times the U.S. index overall, three times the index for the Show-Me State, and six times better than Missouri’s largest metros of St. Louis, Springfield, and Kansas City.

Bar graph indicating Work Readiness Index of NCRCs Per Thousand, by city

The WIB computed this index of each area’s population and the NCRCs recorded by ACT’s Work Ready Communities initiative (as of December 31, 2016). Metro populations are based on 2015 estimates while state populations are 2016 estimates.  Joplin’s MSA includes Ottawa County in Oklahoma together with the Missouri counties of Jasper and Newton. The St. Louis MSA includes additional Illinois counties and the Kansas City MSA includes additional Kansas counties.

Other Rankings That Matter

Other rankings in the report include Rank in the Tax Foundation’s 2016 State Business Tax Climate Index (Oct. 2016), Rank in 2015 Higher Education R&D Expenditure (Total in $000s in parentheses), Rank by Lowest Industrial Electric Power Cost (¢/kWh), and Fiscal Condition Index (Mercatus Center at George Mason University, June 2016). The online version of the report indexes each state profile as a downloadable/viewable PDF. In the print edition of the magazine, the report begins on page 94.


Joplin’s Vision 2022 connects job growth and literacy strategies

The Joplin Globe newspaper provided strong coverage of Joplin’s Vision 2022 efforts, including WIB perspectives on education and job growth. Today’s edition featured Vision 2022’s Job Growth team that kicked off Tuesday night.

Update on Monday, January 30th:  Joplin Globe covered the second meeting of the Job Growth Team with analysis of occupation growth projections and economic factors that might affect projections and outcomes.

The goal of the Job Growth team is to support the citizens’ desire for a vibrant economy with a thriving workforce by growing the job market. The group’s first meeting Tuesday examined labor market and sector trends with discussions around key priorities. The group meets again January 26th to dig deeper on skill gap trends and issues. Globe journalist Jordan Larimore interviewed Job Growth Team co-chair Ryan Melton, Adam Bokker of Home Instead Senior Care, and Jasen Jones with the SW MO WIB.

The Education team met Monday, as noted in a separate article from the Globe. This team has two components of K-12 and adult education (including post-secondary). This team’s mission is to support the citizens’ desire for Quality Schools by developing a community of learners rooted in strong communications, collaboration, critical thinking, and creative thought to ensure an engaged and informed community.

More about Vision 2022 is available online or through their Facebook page. KCGS-TV at Missouri Southern State University also covered Vision 2022 in its Newsmakers program with video available online as well.  Other teams within Vision 2022 include Governance, Healthy Living/Wellness, Positive Marketing/Branding, and Quality of Life.