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Document: Missouri Civilian Labor Force Data, August 2020


Missouri's unemployment rate remained better than the national rate last month, but economic recovery in the state from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic stalled compared to gains made earlier in the summer.

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center announced Thursday "the pace of Missouri labor market's recovery was essentially flat in August 2020."

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August was 7 percent — up one-tenth of a percent from July and still more than double August 2019's rate of 3.2 percent.

Unemployment in Missouri amid the pandemic peaked at 10.2 percent in April 2020 — after being at 3.5 percent in January and February — before recovering to the extent it has over the summer.

The state's unemployment rate was still below the national rate of 8.4 percent in August and has been below or equal to the national rate for 66 consecutive months, according to MERIC.

More than 215,000 Missourians were unemployed in August, compared to more than 99,000 a year ago and more than 211,000 in July.

The still hard-hit leisure and hospitality industry added 3,600 jobs compared to July — 3,100 in accommodation and food services, and 500 in arts, entertainment and recreation. The industry was still almost 16 percent smaller than it had been a year before — seasonally adjusted — but leisure and hospitality was one of few industries in August to have a net increase in its payroll.

Locally, the Jefferson City metropolitan area lost 300 non-farm jobs in August compared to July, with the only job growth listed being in government — 200 state government jobs and 100 federal government jobs.

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Among people working in private industries in the Jefferson City area — including goods-producers, construction, manufacturing, financial activities, professional services, education and health, and leisure and hospitality — fewer employees are working more hours each week.

MERIC reported 50,300 employees worked in private industries in August in the area, compared to 51,200 in July and 53,600 in August 2019.

Those employees, on average, worked 32.4 hours a week in August 2019, 34 hours a week in July 2020 and 35.3 hours a week in August 2020.

That means the private industry workforce in the Jefferson City area shrank more than 6.1 percent from August 2019 to August 2020, but the average number of hours worked per week increased 8.95 percent. Average hourly earnings, meanwhile, increased almost 4.4 percent, while average weekly earnings increased more than 16.7 percent.

MERIC's full job report for August 2020 is available at

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