Ovid Bell Press to restore one-half of last year's 5 percent salary cuts

Ovid Bell Press, a Fulton magazine printing firm, next month plans to restore half of the salary cuts it made one year ago.

John Bell, owner of Ovid Bell Press, said Tuesday a big decline in business one year ago forced the firm to reduce salaries 5 percent.

"We now are in a position were we feel we can restore half of salary reductions by increasing salaries 2.5 percent for the pay period starting in October," Bell said.

Bell said employment levels now are essentially the same that were in place when reduced earlier.

"We have seen signs of strengthening in the marketplace. Not a lot, but enough with the new business that we have brought into the company that we feel comfortable in making this positive step forward. Who knows what's around the next corner," Bell said.

Ovid Bell Press prints from 350 to 400 full-color national and regional magazines and other specialized publications.

Bell said his firm felt the effects of the recession much earlier than the rest of the community because the firm does business with publishers from around the nation.

"We went through a period during the last two years where we saw our customer base shrink, and shrink, and shrink. Throughout the summer months we have experienced a reversal of that trend. The majority of our customers are growing slightly. We all need to know that there are positive things going on in our economy. But it's still a very fragile situation," Bell said.

The leveling off of the employment situation appears to be reflected in the latest unemployment figures for Callaway County and Central Missouri.

After a steady increase in the Callaway County jobless rate the last four months, the latest figures show a leveling off of those without jobs in Central Missouri.

Statewide, the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate edged up a tenth of a point to 9.3 percent in August. Missouri's non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in August was unchanged from July at 9.4 percent.

The unemployment rate in many Central Missouri counties is below the statewide average.

In Callaway County, the jobless rate was 7 percent in April, 7.2 percent in May, 7.9 percent in June, 8.2 percent in July and 8.0 percent in August.

In Cole County, the jobless rate was 5.9 percent in April, 6.0 percent in May, 6.6 percent in June, 7.2 percent in July and 7.2 percent in August.

In Boone County, the jobless rate in April was 5.3 percent, in May 5.6 percent, in June 6.7 percent, in July 6.9 percent, and in August 6.8 percent.

Audrain County had the highest area increase in August, rising from 8.7 percent in July to 9.1 percent in August. In April the jobless rate in Audrain County was 8.3 percent, in May it was 8.4 percent and in June it was 8.7 percent.

Montgomery County has had the highest jobless rate in the area this year. In April the county's jobless rate was 10.3 percent, in May 9.8 percent, in June 10.6 percent, in July 10.5 percent and in August 10.4 percent.

The unemployment rate statewide has been above 9 percent this year. Missouri's seasonally-adjusted unemployment was unchanged in August from July at 9.4 percent.

By comparison, the U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged up a tenth of a point to 9.6 percent in August, while the not-seasonally-adjusted rate dipped by two-tenths of a point to 9.5 percent.

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