Missouri jobless rate now under 5 percent

By Madison Parry

Labor market numbers for September in Missouri brought good news, showing recovery resumed that month as the jobless rate dropped by 2.1 percentage points to 4.9 percent, a positive turn from August’s 7 percent rate.

The Missouri labor market’s recovery resumed in September 2020. Employment, seasonally adjusted, increased by 13,000 jobs over the month and over-the year job losses from COVID-19 shutdowns dropped below 125,000.

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.

Lingering layoffs from COVID-19 shutdowns resulted in a September 2020 rate nearly 50 percent higher than the September 2019 rate.

The rate was steady at 3.5 percent in January and February 2020 before the COVID-19 spike began in March 2020. 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.   

The state’s not-seasonally-adjusted rate was 4.3 percent in September 2020, down by 2.8 percentage points from the August 2020 not-seasonally-adjusted rate of 7.1 percent. The corresponding not-seasonally-adjusted national rate for September 2020 was 7.7 percent. A year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.3 percent, and the not-adjusted rate was 2.7 percent.