Missouri Jobs Report report for April, 2021, shows slight decline in unemployment rate

Jobs Report

Missouri non-farm payroll employment showed little overall change from March 2021 to April 2021, and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by a tenth of a percentage point. Employment, seasonally adjusted, increased by 600 jobs over the month. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in April 2021, down from 4.2 percent in March 2021. The Missouri labor market showed an increase of nearly a quarter-million jobs from April 2020 to April 2021.

UNEMPLOYMENT

Missouri’s smoothed seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by a tenth of a percentage point in April 2021, dropping to 4.1 percent from the March 2021 rate of 4.2 percent. With the start of the COVID-19 pandemic now a year in the past, the April 2021 rate was 8.4 percentage points lower than the April 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 4.4 percent in December, and has continued gradually downward through the first four months of 2021. Missouri’s unemployment rate has been below the national rate every month since February 2020. The national unemployment rate increased from 6.0 percent in March 2021 to 6.1 percent in April 2021. 

The estimated number of unemployed Missourians was 126,758 in April 2021, down by 1,303 from March’s 128,061.

Improved weather and the gradual return to a post-COVID economy helped to push the state’s not-seasonally-adjusted rate down to 4.0 percent in April 2021, four-tenths of a percentage point lower than the March 2021 not-seasonally-adjusted rate of 4.4 percent. The corresponding not-seasonally-adjusted national rate for April 2021 was 5.7 percent.  

A year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 12.5 percent, and the not-adjusted rate was 12.3 percent.

EMPLOYMENT 

Missouri’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment was 2,815,000 in April 2021, up by 600 from the revised March 2021 figure. However, the March 2021 total was revised upward by 2,500 from the preliminary estimate, producing a revised increase of 17,900 jobs from February 2021 to March 2021 and a revised decrease of 98,000 jobs from March 2020 to March 2021.

Goods-producing industries lost 2,000 jobs over the month, all in manufacturing, as the production of new motor vehicles was hampered by a shortage of semiconductor chips for onboard computers. Meanwhile, service-providing industries gained 2,600 jobs between March and April 2021, with increases in leisure & hospitality (+5,200 jobs) and educational & health services (+1,700 jobs) directly attributable to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. A loss of 2,500 jobs in professional & business services appeared to be the result of an extension of the federal tax filing deadline and the resulting decrease in the seasonal hiring of tax processors. Trade, transportation & utilities lost 2,100 jobs over the month, with losses concentrated in wholesale and retail trade. Government employment showed little change over the month. 

Total payroll employment increased by 245,600 jobs from April 2020 to April 2021, reflecting the recovery from the extensive job cuts brought on in April 2020 by the initial wave of COVID-19 infections. All but one of the major private-sector industry groups shared in the increases, with the largest gain in leisure & hospitality (+103,700 jobs), followed by trade, transportation & utilities (+53,100 jobs), educational & health services (+29,400 jobs) and professional & business services (+22,900 jobs). Government employment decreased over the year, with a loss of 1,800 jobs concentrated in state government.

See the full Jobs Report here.