Columbia poverty rate above national average as Matthes delivers state of the city report

May 30, 2012

The latest Columbia state of the city address reports mixed emotions about the city’s economic situation.

City Manager Mike Matthes said he is confident in Columbia’s economic direction.

“I think that things are getting better. We have significant issues to deal with, but taken all in all, things are getting better,” Matthes said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows unemployment in Columbia is below state average, but Columbia’s 23% poverty rate is 9% above the state average. Regional Economic Development, Inc. President Mike Brooks is trying to determine the roots of this trend.

“Retail and some of the other service sector jobs… they do provide jobs, but many of those jobs do not provide enough income to support a family,” Brooks said.

Brooks says the economic development team is pushing an agenda to support entrepreneurial growth in Columbia. He says with the continued successes of local companies, the availability of good-paying jobs will increase. Matthes issued his written state of the city report to the city council on Friday.