The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center reported a slight decrease in Missouri’s unemployment rate in its August 2021 Monthly Job Report.
Missouri non-farm payroll employment increased from July 2021 to August 2021, and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by two-tenths of a percentage point.
Employment, seasonally adjusted, increased by 7,300 jobs over the month, with job gains in both goods-producing and service-providing industries. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4 percent in August, down from 4.2 percent in July 2021. Recovery from COVID-19-related layoffs continued with an increase of 73,400 jobs from August 2020 to August 2021. Short-term shortages of semiconductor chips may hold down employment in manufacturing in the next few months.
Missouri’s smoothed seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by two-tenths of a percentage point in August, dropping to 4 percent from the July rate of 4.2 percent.
The national unemployment rate decreased from 5.4 percent in July to 5.2 percent in August. The estimated number of unemployed Missourians was 123,158 in August, down by 5,448 from July’s 128,606.
The state’s not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate also decreased in August, dropping by 0.4 percentage points to 3.5 percent from the July not-seasonally-adjusted rate of 3.9 percent. The decrease resulted from the recall of manufacturing workers from short-term layoff. The corresponding not-seasonally-adjusted national rate for August was 5.3 percent.
A year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 6 percent and the not-adjusted rate was 6.1 percent.
With the start of the COVID-19 pandemic now more than a year in the past, the August 2021 rate was 2 percentage points lower than the August 2020 rate. The rate had reached a low of 3.1 percent starting in July 2018, before gradually edging up to 3.5 percent by the end of 2019, and then to 3.7 percent in March 2020. The COVID-19 effect hit in April 2020, spiking the rate to 12.5 percent for that month. The rate decreased monthly for the rest of 2020, reaching 4.4 percent in December, and continued gradually downward through the first four months of 2021. The increase of two-tenths of a percentage point from April 2021 to June 2021 appeared to be related to a temporary shortage in the supply of semiconductor chips, which caused production slowdowns in some manufacturing industries.
Due to benchmark revisions, Missouri’s unemployment rate rose a tenth of a percentage point higher than the national rate in January and February of 2020, but has been below the national rate for every month since February 2020.
Missouri’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment was 2,839,400 in August 2021, up by 7,300 from the revised July 2021 figure. However, the July 2021 total was revised downward by 3,600 from the preliminary estimate, producing a revised increase of 11,400 jobs from June 2021 to July 2021 and a revised increase of 80,300 jobs from July 2020 to July 2021.
Goods-producing industries gained 5,300 jobs over the month with gains in both durable and non-durable goods. Meanwhile, service-providing industries gained 2,000 jobs between July and August 2021, with increases in leisure & hospitality (3,300 jobs) and professional and business services (1,600 jobs). Government employment showed a decrease of 3,200 jobs over the month.
Total payroll employment increased by 73,400 jobs from August 2020 to August 2021, reflecting the recovery from job cuts brought on by the initial wave of COVID-19 infections. All but one of the major private-sector industry groups shared in the increases, with the largest gain in leisure and hospitality (33,700 jobs), followed by professional and business services (17,700 jobs), educational and health services (12,100 jobs), and trade, transportation and utilities (8,700 jobs). The sole private-sector exception was financial activities, which lost 5,600 jobs. Government employment decreased over the year, with a loss of 6,200 jobs concentrated in federal and local government.