Our View

Things continue to look up on the jobs front for Missouri and for the Joplin area.

The September unemployment rate for the state fell to 4.9%, according to figures released Wednesday by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. The national unemployment rate was at 7.9% in September.

It is good news that we have higher employment than other states, but even more notable that we are recovering at a relatively brisk pace from the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Missouri’s unemployment rate in August was reported at 7.0%, down from a peak of 10.2% in April. In March, the rate was 3.9% before the effects of pandemic were felt on the economy. There is more ground to make up, but we are closing in.

Public art

Three new sculptures have been added to the Rotary Sculpture Garden in Mercy Park as part of the joint project by the Rotary Club of Joplin and the Joplin Daybreak Rotary. The latest additions mean 12 sculptures are now available for viewing along the outdoor trail that rambles around a pond and up a tall hill as it loops through the park, along with a butterfly mosaic.

Having such a collection of public art is a treasure for the community and the location lends itself to appreciation even under the strictures of the pandemic.

The Rotary clubs, companies and individual donors that made the project possible and keep it going are to be commended.

You can find out more about the sculpture garden at rotarysculpturegarden.org.

Joplin Memorial Run

We are glad to see the Freeman Joplin Memorial Run rescheduled for Dec. 11-12. The run received final approval from the Joplin City Council, the local health department and the race sponsor with the implementation of COVID-19 safety measures for the races.

The race will be capped at about 1,000 participants instead of the 2,500 who typically register. Start times will be staggered, and participants must follow social distancing rules at all times. Masks are required to be worn before and after the race. Ruth Sawkins, race director and the owner and founder of Rufus Racing LLC, conducted other race events in July and September with similar modifications.

While the race is an important event for the area, it is also important that it be safe. Sawkins said she’s confident the modifications will be effective and keep people safe.

We are reassured that neither of the two earlier races was tied to any COVID-19 cases.