February Unemployment Rate Down Slightly From January

The Missouri Department of Economic Development reported a non-farm payroll employment decrease for February, but the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down by a tenth of a percentage point. Employment was down by 11,600 jobs over the month. The over-the-year job losses were 130,500. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in February. That was down by one tenth of a percentage point from January. The labor market still showed substantial losses over the year, but may show improvement in the coming months as vaccines for COVID-19 become available.

Due to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the February 2021 rate was 0.6 percentage points higher than the February 2020 rate. The rate had reached a low of 3.1 percent starting in July 2018, before gradually edging up to 3.5 percent by the end of 2019, and then to 3.7 percent in March 2020. The COVID-19 effect hit in April 2020, spiking the rate to 12.5 percent for that month. The rate decreased monthly for the rest of 2020, reaching 4.3 percent in January. Missouri’s unemployment rate remained below the national rate.

The estimated number of unemployed Missourians was 128,934 in February 2021, down by 1,615 from January’s 130,549.