Thursday will mark a year since Cindy Smashey has had a job.


Thursday will mark a year since Cindy Smashey has had a job.
The New London bookkeeper was laid off last Dec. 31 when the plant where she worked shut down.
“It’s very frustrating,” Smashey said. “I’ve sent out four to five applications a week. I usually get an e-mail or a letter saying the job has been filled.”
Smashey isn’t alone.
The jobless rate climbed in six of seven Northeast Missouri counties for November.
While the numbers aren’t as high as they were earlier in the year, people who are looking for work say the rise is a cause for concern.
Even entry-level positions that usually have a high turnover are being held onto by people who are worried about a national economy that continues to sputter.
“I’m hoping, but it’s hard,” said Jeremy Buckta, a construction laborer who’s been out of work for seven months. “Finding a job is about impossible now. There’s not much of a selection. Everybody’s hanging on to what they’ve got.”
The November unemployment figures for Northeast Missouri mirrored the state trend as manufacturing, construction and service industry jobs were eliminated.
The numbers for November were 9 percent in Marion County, 11.5 percent in Lincoln, 11.9 percent in Monroe, 8.4 percent in Pike, 8.9 percent in Ralls and 8.2 percent in Shelby.
By comparison, the numbers for October were 8.7 percent in Marion, 11.4 percent in Lincoln, 11.1 percent in Monroe, 8 percent in Pike, 8.4 percent in Ralls and 7.5 percent in Shelby.
Unemployment in Lewis County remained unchanged at 7.6 percent.
Missouri’s unemployment rate increased slightly in November to 9.5 percent.
The national rate last month was 10 percent, down slightly from the 2009 high of 10.2 percent in October.
A leading forecaster, the Chicago firm of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, has predicted a gradual increase in hiring during 2010 and a much brighter picture by 2011.
That doesn’t help Tuesdie Weddle right now.
She was scanning a computer Monday at the Missouri Career Center in Hannibal. Weddle has been unemployed for three months, and was looking for a retail position.
“I’ve put in a lot of paper apps, too,” she said. “Something’s just got to give.”
Kim Cull, the Career Center’s lead workforce specialist, said certain sectors have openings.
“It’s kind of a potpourri,” Cull said. “There’s a lot of medical-related. There’s some financial and security guards, some support staff positions.”
Trimming the household budget has become standard for many families, but especially in those where one person is out of work.
Smashey’s husband is a farmer and had big losses because of Salt River flooding in 2008.
While the couple harvested a soybean crop this year, they cut way back on holiday spending for their five children and 15 grandchildren.
“I spent $50 on Christmas, total,” Smashey said. “I usually spend $25 on each of them. That’s a lot of difference.”
Smashey did more baking this year and gave cakes and desserts as gifts.
A grandson who’s in the second grade warmed her heart with his request.
“My grandson asked for deviled eggs and that’s what he got,” she said. “He was tickled pink.”