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July jobs report shows substantial employment gains over 2020

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s employment rates increased considerably over the last year, with 83,900 more jobs reported last month compared to the same time in 2020. 

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center’s (MERIC) July jobs report found the state’s employment numbers rose by 15,000 jobs over the past month, reducing the unemployment rate 1/10th of a percent to 4.2 percent. July’s unemployment rate was 2.6 percent lower than the same time last year and 1.5 percent lower than the national rate. 

Service industries including food service and leisure and hospitality, both of which faced substantial job loss at the height of last year’s economic downturn, gained more than 14,200 jobs last month. The industry has grown by nearly 29,500 jobs since last July, one of the largest increases by sector. 

The professional and business trade industries saw 20,200 new jobs for the year, while educational and health service jobs increased by 18,000. Trade, transportation, and utilities jobs rose more than 9,400 for the year while the financial activity industry lost 3,800 jobs and government employment dropped by around 100 federal and local government employees. 

The report noted the impact of current events on the numbers, both for July and in the coming months. Not only is the state seeing a resurgence in COVID-19 case rates and reinstated health ordinances, the manufacturing industry is also reeling from a global microchip shortage causing production delays for everything from gaming consoles to cars and 5G equipment.

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 have remained strong since the beginning of 2021.