Since the country's economic downfall a few years ago, the headlines about unemployment and the job market have been less than encouraging. However, recent trends in unemployment numbers indicate that may be changing.

As of July 2013, Missouri's state unemployment rate was 7.1 percent. That percentage is right under the national average according to the United States Department of Labor which has documented that the average for the nation in July 2013 was 7.4 percent. The lake area's stats seem to be close to the national average. In June 2013, Camden County had a 7.3 percent of unemployment, while Morgan had 7.4 percent and Miller had a 7.8 percent unemployment rate.

For lake area resident Kim Spangler, who helps women make themselves more marketable for the workforce, it is more difficult to place a client in a job than it has been in the past. Spangler works with clients at Women 2 Women to help prepare them to be in the job market. The Power Up course includes a six hour class, resume and interview tips, resume and application building, a make-over and a mock interview. Woman 2 Woman then plays a role along with the client to seek out jobs.

"We've been doing this for 14 years now and our percentages on placement and retention — my feeling is that it isn't enough to place, you have to retain the job; otherwise it's not worth it — our stats have rated from 78-85 percent. However since about 2010, we are seeing some real concerns," Spangler said.

The tri-county area is unique since the job market includes a significant amount of seasonal work — what Spangler refers to as "worker-bee" work such as retail, restaurants and resort labor.

Camden County's population in 2010 was 44,002. In 2011, 19,634 Camden County residents were employed while 1,470 were unemployed and 15,150 were not in the workforce at all. In 2010, Miller County had 24,748 residents. Just one year later, 11,196 of those residents were employed, 983 were unemployed and 7,302 were not in the workforce. Morgan County had 20,565 residents in 2010. Out of those residents, 7,329 were employed, 1,027 were unemployed and 8,366 were not in the workforce at all.

Some factors play a role in unemployment stats, but after twelve consecutive months without a job, some residents may not get counted. Those residents who have given up on the job hunt, gone back to school, moved out of the area or joined the military are what is considered underutilization.

Lately, Spangler has also seen a different type of client than in the past. Over the past couple of years, Spangler has seen it easiest to place clients in "worker-bee" situations and even
an over the road truck drivers and a psychologist.

Spangler feels as if the reality of the situation is worse than what the statistics are showing.

"You have this whole demographic of people who are not counted after a years time in the unemployment stats," Spangler said.

Information from and Woman 2 Woman.