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July jobs report shows continued recovery despite substantial unemployment rates

Missouri gained more than 52,000 jobs last month, according to seasonally adjusted numbers in the July jobs report.

The report found an overall increase in employment for the month compared to June with a seasonally adjusted decrease in unemployment by nearly a full percentage point from 7.8 to 6.9 percent. Missouri remained below the national rate of 10.2 percent for the month. 

Employment decreased compared to last year in nearly every sector besides construction, according to the report. Manufacturing employment was down by 2 percent, education and health services were down by nearly 4 percent, and leisure and hospitality saw a decrease of 19 percent over the year despite adding 11,600 jobs in July.  

Hard-hit industries saw increases in employment for the month. The retail industry saw a seasonally adjusted increase of more than 3,000 jobs in Missouri last month, according to the report, and the foodservice industry added 11,600 new jobs. 

The report showed the unemployment rate remained more than double the 3.2 percent recorded in July 2019. Unemployment was at a record low of 3 percent in July 2018, according to the report.

The Department of Labor’s website indicated a decrease in initial unemployment claims for the month, with more than 17,000 filed the week of July 4 and just under 11,000 filings during July’s final week.

Unemployment rates skyrocketed in March as stay at home orders took effect over the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment peaked the final week of March with 104,000 initial unemployment claims filed. Rates remained unusually high through the next few months before dropping more than 2 percent in June.

“It certainly is a positive sign,” Department of Economic Development (DED) Director Rob Dixon said during a press conference last month. “But we still have a ways to go.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.