Missouri’s Unemployment Rate Has Dropped, But Not Why You Think

Missouri’s unemployment rate dropped by more than two percentage points in September, falling to 4.9% — despite little to no growth in actual jobs.

The data for last month’s labor market, released by the state on Wednesday, shows the significant fall in the unemployment rate was driven by 70,000 Missourians dropping out of the labor force. That means those people are no longer counted as unemployed because they’re not actively looking for work.

The state’s unemployment rate is far below the worst of the coronavirus crisis, which peaked at 10.2% in April. But it’s still far higher than September 2019, when it sat just above 3%.