The Missouri labor market showed further improvement in November 2020. Employment, seasonally adjusted, increased by 17,400 jobs over the month. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points from October 2020 to November 2020, and the civilian labor force increased more than 23,000. However, the labor market still showed substantial losses from 2019 levels, and a third wave of COVID-19 infections pose a threat of renewed economic challenges in the coming months.
Missouri’s smoothed seasonally adjusted unemployment rate went down by 0.2 percentage points in November 2020, decreasing to 4.4 percent from the October 2020 rate of 4.6 percent.
Missouri’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has now been either below or equal to the national rate for 68 consecutive months. The national unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in November 2020, also down 0.2 percentage points from 6.9 percent in October 2020.
The estimated number of unemployed Missourians was 131,215 in November 2020, down by 4,766 from October’s 135,981.
Due to lingering layoffs from COVID-19 impacts, the state’s November 2020 rate was still 1 percentage point higher than the November 2019 rate. The rate had reached a record low of 3.0 percent starting in August 2018, before edging up a tenth of a point in November 2018 and again in December 2018. The rate had remained at 3.2 percent through April 2019 before decreasing by a tenth of a point in May 2019. It then began a slow increase, reaching 3.4 percent in November 2019, where it remained for the remainder of 2019. 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. After a second wave of COVID-19 infections in August 2020 caused a small setback for the labor market, unemployment again decreased sharply in September 2020, followed by smaller decreases in October 2020 and November 2020.
The state’s not-seasonally-adjusted rate was 3.9 percent in November 2020, up by a tenth of a percentage point from the October 2020 not-seasonally-adjusted rate of 3.8 percent. The corresponding not-seasonally-adjusted national rate for November 2020 was 6.4 percent.
A year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.4 percent, and the not-adjusted rate was 3.1 percent.
Missouri’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment was 2,797,100 in November 2020, up by 17,400 from the revised September figure. However, the October 2020 total was revised downward by 3,500 from the preliminary estimate, producing a revised increase of 2,900 jobs from September 2020 to October 2020 and a revised decrease of 125,300 jobs from October 2019 to October 2020. (See “Revisions” below.)
Both goods-producing industries and service-providing industries contributed to private-sector employment gains over the month, with the largest increases in trade, transportation & utilities (+8,000 jobs), educational & health services (+5,500 jobs), and manufacturing (+5,200 jobs). Smaller gains occurred in financial activities (+1,400 jobs), professional & business services (+1,200 jobs), and construction (+600 jobs). Bucking the upward trends were government (-3,200 jobs) and leisure & hospitality (-600 jobs). It should be noted that seasonal adjustment factors may be subject to revision, given that they are based on a statistical time series that preceded the COVID-19 pandemic.
Total payroll employment decreased by 108,100 jobs from November 2019 to November 2020. As in October, over-the-year job losses were widespread among the major sectors of the labor market, with only construction and “other services” spared. However, a large increase of 9,600 jobs in construction did produce a net gain of 2,100 jobs over the year in goods-producing industries despite a loss of 7,500 jobs in manufacturing. Meanwhile, service-providing industries lost 110,200 jobs from November 2019 to November 2020. Leisure & hospitality continued to be the industry group most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, losing 58,800 jobs over the year, a decrease of 19.0 percent. Professional & business services lost 13,700 jobs (-3.6 percent), educational & health services lost 13,400 jobs (-2.8 percent) and trade, transportation & utilities lost 9,100 jobs (-1.7 percent). Smaller losses occurred in the information sector (-3,200 jobs) and in financial activities (-1,900 jobs). Government employment decreased by 12,000 jobs over the year.
See the full Jobs Report here.