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Missouri Jobs see increase in May

Jefferson City, Mo. — Missouri has seen an overall increase in the number of jobs and a decrease in unemployment during the month of May, according to the Missouri Economic Research Center (MERIC).

MERIC is the research division of the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development’s Office of Performance & Strategy.

Missouri’s labor force participation rate was 63.3% in May 2022, according to MERIC’s monthly job report. 63.3 percent is one percentage point higher than the national rate of 62.3 percent.

Missouri’s employment-population ratio was 61.3 percent in May 2022, meaning that 61.3 percent of Missouri’s total working age population had a job. That’s 1.2 points higher than the national rate of 60.1 percent.

Unemployment is down as well. The report states that Missouri’s unemployment rate is 3.1 percent, a slight improvement from April’s 3.4 percent and a noticeable decrease from May 2021, which had an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent.

Altogether, the total number of unemployed Missourians dropped from 103,605 in April to 96,446 in May, a difference of 7,159.

Compared to the national rate of 3.6 percent, Missourians are seeing significantly less unemployment. This should not be a surprise as Missouri has been at or below the national unemployment rate for the past five years according to the report.

The employment areas that saw the most growth were manufacturing (1,800), professional/business services (3,500), and educational/health services (1,700). Those sectors all saw thousands of jobs added since April.

Some sectors did see significant job loss, specifically private service-providing industries. Trade, transportation, and utilities lost 5,100 jobs, and the leisure/hospitality industry lost 2,400 jobs.

Perhaps one of the biggest losers was the government. Government jobs saw a big decrease, especially in the local government sector (-1,100). The federal government also lost a sizable 600 jobs.

These numbers are from preliminary data and they may change when the revised data report comes out, according to the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development.

Some of these numbers are also just regular trends.

“In local government, for example, it’s not unusual to see some declines near the end of the school year or start of the summer, as some roles in local education are not employed at the same levels during summer break,” Veronica Gielazauskas said.

Gielazauskas serves as the Assistant Commissioner for Performance & Strategy at the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development.

Though some sectors were hit hard, May’s job report continues a trend of steady economic recovery for the Show-Me State.