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December jobs report shows employment increase in Missouri


Though Missouri’s employment rate increased substantially for the month of December, the state’s job market is still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest jobs report. 

The seasonally adjusted employment rate increased for the month by 10,400 jobs, according to the report but dropped by 89,600 jobs compared to December 2019. 

The adjusted unemployment rate increased from 4.5 percent to 5.8 percent, a 1.3 percent increase from November to December 2020. The department estimated more than 180,000 Missourians were unemployed last month. 

Despite the increased rate for the month, Missouri’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained below the national average for the 69th consecutive month — the national unemployment rate for the U.S. was 6.7 percent in December. 

Without the seasonal adjustment, Missouri’s unemployment rate remained 5.8 percent for the month, an increase over November by nearly 2 percent. The state remained below the unadjusted national average of 6.5 percent, though December 2019 saw a rate of 3.4 for the month with and without the seasonal adjustment. 

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll was up for the month, with more than 2.8 million Missourians reportedly employed. The service industry saw a substantial increase in December, accounting for more than 90 percent of the month’s private-sector job growth. The trade, transportation, and utility industries saw an increase of 6,300 jobs, while professional and business services increased by 3,100 jobs. 1,800 leisure and hospitality jobs were added last month. 

The educational and health services industries were less prosperous in December, losing 1,100 total jobs from November. 

Missouri showed strong employment numbers in 2019 — then hovered at 3.5 percent unemployment in early 2020 before surging to a high of 10 percent in April due to the pandemic. Since the state reopened last May, employment numbers have continued to trend upward. General revenue saw similar lows in the middle of last year but bounced back in the summer and finished the year strong.