Missouri Labor Numbers Suggest Continued Economic Recovery

Missouri’s labor numbers seem to indicate that the economic recovery is continuing, at least if the unemployment figure is an indicator.

Seasonally adjusted employment in Missouri increased by 13,000 jobs over the month and over-the-year jobs losses from COVID-19 shutdowns were down by 125,000. Missouri’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate went down by 2.1 percentage points in September 2020, decreasing to 4.9 percent from an August 2020 rate of 7.0 percent.

Missouri’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has now been either below or equal to the national rate for 67 consecutive months. The national unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in September 2020.

The estimated number of unemployed Missourians was 146,051 in September 2020, down by 68,345 from August’s 214,396. The over-the-month drop is due in part to the unemployed workers exhausting their Unemployment Insurance benefits and leaving the labor market. The change contributed to the 2.3 percent decline in Missouri’s total civilian labor force over the month.

Due to lingering layoffs from COVID-19 shutdowns, the September 2020 rate was still nearly 50 percent higher than the September 2019 rate. The rate peaked at 10.2 percent in April 2020 before decreasing slightly in May 2020, then moving strongly lower in June and July of 2020 as COVID-19 restrictions were eased. The rate was unchanged in August 2020, and unemployment again decreased sharply in September 2020.