Missouri unemployment rate above 3 percent

Missouri's unemployment rate reached above 3 percent for the first time in 2023.

The state's unemployment rate was 3.1 percent in October, according to the monthly jobs report released Wednesday by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC). The number of people without a job increased 0.2 percent from September, when the unemployment rate was 2.9 percent.

The state began the year with an unemployment rate of 2.7 percent and experienced a three-month low of 2.5 percent from March to May. It's been steadily creeping up each month since.

At 3.1 percent, Missouri's unemployment rate remains below the national rate of 3.9 percent. The state has remained at or below the national unemployment rate for more than eight years.

An estimated 97,812 Missourians were without a job in October, up more than 6,100 people from MERIC's September estimate of 91,675. An estimated 2,992,700 Missourians had jobs in October, an increase of 5,600 people from September.

The addition of 4,800 private sector jobs and 800 government jobs fueled employment gains.

Private sector gains were largely concentrated in service-providing industries, which grew by 8,800 jobs from September to October. Leisure and hospitality companies added 3,600 jobs, private education and health services companies added 2,800 jobs, financial activity companies added 1,500 jobs and trade, transportation and utilities added 500 jobs. Other service-providing companies also added 500 jobs but private professional and business services companies lost 100 jobs.

Private goods-producing industries added another 200 jobs, all of which came from mining, logging and construction companies. Those gains were offset by the loss of 4,200 private manufacturing jobs.

Government employment increased by 800 jobs as local governments added 800 jobs, the federal government added 400 jobs and the state government lost 400 jobs.

Missouri's labor force participation rate -- the proportion of the total state population that is economically active -- was 63.6 percent in October, a slight decrease from the 63.7 percent recorded in September but higher than the national rate of 62.7 percent.

The state's employment-population ratio -- the number of workers currently employed compared to the total working-age population in Missouri -- was 61.6 percent in October, down from 61.8 percent recorded in September but higher than the national ratio of 60.2 percent.