Missouri’s unemployment rate in October up slightly compared to 2019


The Missouri labor market showed mixed results in October 2020. Employment, seasonally adjusted, increased by 6,400 jobs over the month, but over-the-year job losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic remained stubbornly high. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points from September 2020 to October 2020, but the civilian labor force decreased more than 16,000.

Missouri’s smoothed seasonally adjusted unemployment rate went down by 0.2 percentage points in October 2020, decreasing to 4.6 percent from a revised September 2020 rate of 4.8 percent. Due to lingering layoffs from COVID-19 shutdowns, the October 2020 rate was still 1.2 percentage points higher than the October 2019 rate. 

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 6.9 percent in October 2020.

The estimated number of unemployed Missourians was 137,729 in October 2020, down by 6,083 from September’s 143,812.

Missouri’s seasonally adjusted unemployment 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 October 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 slight uptick in August 2020, unemployment decreased sharply in September 2020, followed by a smaller decrease in October 2020. The civilian labor force decrease noted above can be attributed to the loss of labor force members being counted due to them exhausting their eligibility for UI benefits and are no longer counted in the labor force computations. 

The state’s not-seasonally-adjusted rate was 3.8 percent in October 2020, down by 0.5 percentage points from the September 2020 not-seasonally-adjusted rate of 4.3 percent. The corresponding not-seasonally-adjusted national rate for October 2020 was 6.6 percent.   

A year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.4 percent, and the not-adjusted rate was 2.8 percent.

Missouri’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment was 2,783,200 in October 2020, up by 6,400 from the revised September figure. Private-sector employment gains over the month were concentrated in private-sector service-providing industries, with the largest increases in trade, transportation & utilities (+3,200 jobs), “other services” (+3,200 jobs), professional & business services (+2,800 jobs), educational & health services (+1,600 jobs) and financial activities (+1,400 jobs). Service-providing job losses occurred in government (-2,200 jobs) and leisure & hospitality (-1,100 jobs). Goods-producing industries showed a net loss of 2,500 jobs with a gain in construction (+3,300 jobs) exceeded by losses in manufacturing (-5,700 jobs) and mining & logging (-100 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 121,800 jobs from October 2019 to October 2020. As in September, over-the-year job losses were widespread among the major sectors of the labor market, with only construction and “other services” spared. Goods-producing industries lost 3,500 jobs over the year, and service-providing industries lost 118,300 jobs. Manufacturing employment was down by 12,800 (-4.6 percent), while construction, aided by less severe COVID-19 restrictions for outdoor work, showed an increase of 9,600 jobs (+7.6 percent). Among service-providing industries, leisure & hospitality lost 55,600 jobs over the year, a decrease of 17.9 percent. Educational & health services lost 19,000 jobs (-3.9 percent), while employment in trade, transportation & utilities was down by 18,000 (-3.3 percent). Professional & business services lost 13,600 jobs (-3.6 percent) and the information sector lost 3,400 jobs (-7.3 percent). Government employment moved to the negative side of the spreadsheet, losing 9,300 jobs (-2.1 percent) over the year.

See the full Jobs Report here.