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Missouri unemployment rates drop in June, state says

Missouri’s unemployment rates are steadily decreasing after record highs earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Unemployment rates dropped by more than 2 percent in the month of June, according to the Department of Economic Development (DED). The report found adjusted unemployment rates in Missouri fell from 10.1 percent in May to 7.9 percent in June, a decrease of 2.2 percent. The report said that the state’s employment increased by more than 71,600 jobs last month.

The state remained below the national unemployment level of 11.1 percent, according to the report.

“This is great news for our economy and shows that Missourians are getting back to work,” Gov. Mike Parson said during a press conference on Thursday. “Combining May and June, Missouri has recovered approximately one-third of jobs lost in March and April.”

“It certainly is a positive sign,” said DED Director Rob Dixon. “But we still have a ways to go.”

Missouri’s unemployment numbers skyrocketed in March following the spread of positive COVID-19 cases and the state’s stay at home orders. Many industries were forced to lay-off and furlough workers. 

Unemployment rates saw the first major spike the week of March 21, with 10 times the number of initial filings from the previous week. Weekly claims remained high, with total state unemployment rates peaking around 11 percent in April and May, according to tables provided in the report.

Data from the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR) showed the total number of initial unemployment claims in the month of June — just under 75,000 — remained below the highest number of claims in one week this year. More than 104,000 initial claims were reported during the last week of March. 

DED said it launched a number of programs to provide relief to businesses and support economic recovery as part of Parson’s Show Me Strong Recovery Plan. These programs include:

  • The Emergency Broadband Investment Program, which will provide up to $20 million in grants to reimburse providers for expansion and connection of high-speed internet  to unserved or underserved areas
  • A Small Business Grant Program which would provide up to $30 million for businesses, especially small businesses and family-owned farms, for the cost of interrupted business due to COVID-19
  • The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) retooling program meant to provide grant funding for manufacturers of equipment, as well as nonprofit organizations and other groups that have retooled facilities to produce PPE for Missourians.

Workforce development and economic growth have been major focuses of Missouri’s COVID-19 response. Parson announced $125 million in CARES Act funding for workforce development and training last week.

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