Missouri monthly unemployment rate inches down to 4.2% in March, 2021

Jobs Report

Missouri non-farm payroll employment recovered strongly in March 2021 after a loss in February, and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by a tenth of a percentage point. Employment, seasonally adjusted, increased by 15,400 jobs over the month. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in March 2021, down from 4.3 percent in February 2021. Job losses over the year, while still severe, decreased from 130,100 in February 2021 to 100,500 in March 2021. Further improvement is expected in the spring as weather conditions improve and as COVID-19 vaccinations become more widely available. 

UNEMPLOYMENT

Missouri’s smoothed seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by a tenth of a percentage point in March 2021, dropping to 4.2 percent from the February 2021 rate of 4.3 percent. Due to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the March 2021 rate was 0.5 percentage points higher than the March 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 state’s unemployment rate has declined or remained steady each month since April 2020 and was below the U.S. rate of 6.0 percent in March 2021.

The estimated number of unemployed Missourians was 128,920 in March 2021, down by 3,618 from February’s 132,538.

Improved weather helped to push the state’s not-seasonally-adjusted rate down to 4.4 percent in March 2021, eight-tenths of a percentage point lower than the February 2021 not-seasonally-adjusted rate of 5.2 percent. The corresponding not-seasonally-adjusted national rate for March 2021 was 6.2 percent.  

A year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.7 percent, and the not-adjusted rate was 4.4 percent.

EMPLOYMENT

Missouri’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment was 2,811,900 in March 2021, up by 15,400 from the revised February 2021 figure. In addition, the February 2021 total was revised upward by 400 from the preliminary estimate, producing a revised decrease of 11,200 jobs from January 2021 to February 2021 and a revised decrease of 130,100 jobs from February 2020 to February 2021.

Goods-producing industries added 7,000 jobs over the month, with increases of 3,900 in mining, logging & construction and 3,100 in manufacturing. Meanwhile, service-providing industries gained 8,400 jobs between February and March 2021, with increases in educational & health services (+8,100 jobs), professional & business services (+2,200 jobs), leisure & hospitality (+600 jobs), and “other services” (+200 jobs) outweighing losses in financial activities (-1,700 jobs), information (-700 jobs), and trade, transportation & utilities (-300 jobs). Government employment was unchanged over the month, with losses in federal and local government balanced by a gain in state government.

Total payroll employment decreased by 100,500 jobs from March 2020 to March 2021. As in previous months, over-the-year job losses were widespread among the major sectors of the labor market, with only trade, transportation & utilities spared. Goods-producing industries lost 7,100 jobs over the year, with a large decrease (-6,400 jobs) in manufacturing and a smaller decrease (-700 jobs) in mining, logging & construction. Service-providing industries were more severely impacted, losing 93,400 jobs over the year, with leisure & hospitality (-41,000 jobs) continuing to take the hardest hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. Professional & business services lost 11,000 jobs over the year, educational & health services lost 9,000 jobs, “other services” lost 5,800 jobs and information lost 3,500 jobs. Trade, transportation & utilities gained 1,200 jobs over the year, with all the increase coming in transportation, warehousing & utilities. Government employment decreased by 18,100 over the year, with major decreases in state and local government.

See the full Jobs Report here.