ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — According to new government census data, St. Charles County is one of only 19 counties in the United States that has a poverty rate of less than 5 percent.
But County Executive Steve Ehlmann says he can’t take the credit for his community’s rosy economic picture. “I think government has a minimal role to play,” he said. “We try mainly just to stay out of the way and let businesses grow and encourage them through tax policies and work with them on regulation.”
By contrast, the city of St. Louis ranks much higher when it comes to poverty, with a rate topping 24-percent compared to 13-and-a-half percent for the rest of the country. Ehlamnn said that his community’s economic success during the recession was rooted in strong families, noting the high rates of two-parent/two-income families. “Residents are avoiding behaviors that lead to poverty,” Ehlmann said, such as divorce and having children out of wedlock.
But Ehlmann says there’s more to be done, citing a recent Lindenwood University study that found a disconnect between job seekers and area companies. The data found that nearly 8 in 10 of employers surveyed were looking for workers – but the unemployment rate in St. Charles County during the same period remained stuck at around 8-percent. Ehlmann says county leaders will look at bridging that job gap next month. “We have to ask if government doing its job’ to help people find the work that’s out there.”
On the Web: http://www.census.gov/
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