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Unemployment remains steady in July, state touts low cost of living


Missouri’s unemployment rate has remained at 3.3 percent for the past five months. This marks the 36th consecutive month in which Missouri’s unemployment rate has been lower than the corresponding U.S. rate, which was 3.7 percent in July.

Missouri nonfarm payroll employment increased slightly over the month. The seasonally adjusted jobs estimate was 2,961,736, — up by 10,072 from the revised June figure. The total number of jobs has increased in the last year. The Show-Me State added 34,700 since July 2018. 

Several industries saw increases in the last month. Manufacturing jobs increased 3,100 from June. Education and health services added 2,300 while trade, transportion, and utilities added 1,000. Smaller gains were reported in various other industries.

These gains were offset by decreases in construction  (–1,400) and leisure and hospitality (-1,400). 

Over the past year, some industries have seen gains. Health care and social assistance added 12,200 jobs (up 2.9 percent), accommodation and food services added 5,500 jobs (up  2.1 percent), and professional, scientific, and technical services added 3,900 jobs (up 2.4 percent).

To view the July 2019 jobs report, click here

When the state released the job figures, it also touted Missouri as one of the most affordable states to live. 

According to the Council for Community and Economic Research’s quarterly Cost of Living (COL) survey, Missouri was ranked the fourth lowest in the nation.

The overall index for the first quarter of 2019 came in at 87.1, significantly lower than the national average of 100 and fourth lowest in the nation. Particularly notable is Missouri’s housing, which is the second lowest in the country.

Missouri’s participating urban areas — Joplin, Springfield, St. Louis, Jefferson City, Columbia, and Kansas City — all came in under the national average, led by Joplin, which landed in the top 10 least expensive urban areas in the country out 257 participants.

The index, which has been published since 1968, evaluates grocery, housing, utility, transportation, health, and miscellaneous good and service costs from participating cities and metropolitan areas across the country.

To read more about the COL index, visit MERIC’s Cost of Living Data Series webpage.