Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's administration Friday announced a website intended to help track the state's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Economic Recovery Dashboard — found at showmestrong.mo.gov/dashboard — displays data collected over the first five months of the year.
It "tracks metrics across multiple categories" that affect businesses, communities and individuals, according to a Missouri Department of Economic Development news release.
Categories include employment, businesses, consumers, social impact and community finance.
The news release highlights data it said are early signs of recovery:
Unemployment claims have fallen from a peak of 440,234 to 350,490.
At the lowest point this spring (on April 12), Missourians employed hourly in small businesses worked only about 48 percent of hours they worked in January. That had recovered to about 77 percent of their hours on May 29, the data show.
At the end of April, a survey showed revenue at only 5 percent of small businesses was increasing. The latest data indicate revenue was growing at 15 percent of businesses.
There have been significant upticks in job postings in some of the hardest-hit industries like leisure and hospitality.
The website shows notifications to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. WARN is intended to protect workers, their families and communities by requiring employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days before mass layoffs.
However, because of the sudden onset of the pandemic, companies were oftentimes unable to announce furloughs 60 days in advance.
The website jobs.mo.gov/warn2019 shows from March 1, about 105 large employers, including Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City, notified the Missouri Office of Workforce Development's Dislocated Worker Program of pending layoffs or furloughs.
With the hotel prevented from holding events, it was forced to furlough about 26 banquet employees, nine cooks and chefs, six front desk clerks, six maintenance personnel, and about 15 managers and directors, restaurant servers, bartenders, auditors, and laundry and room attendants — affecting more than 100 employees.
As the state prepares for full reopening, job postings for leisure and hospitality positions were 18 percent higher the week ending June 5 than they had been the first full week of January, according to the data. Using that first week of January as a starting point, postings had dipped to their lowest point April 3, almost 64 percent below the January numbers.
Following the lowest dip, postings held steady around 40 percent below the January point. But, over the past three weeks, there have been steady gains.
During times of stress, the number of calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can spike.
The recovery website compares data collected in 2019 and the first five months of this year. Data show that in January 2019, there were 3,049 Missouri calls to the national lifeline. In January this year, there were a few more, at 3,117. But, in February 2019, there were 2,897, while 3,352 in 2020; 2,956 in March 2019 and 3,507 in March 2020; 2,966 in April 2019, 3,387 in April 2020; and 3,284 in May 2019, while 3,437 in May 2020. Those numbers appear to have peaked in March.
And Missouri food banks have seen significant increases in demand year-over-year during the pandemic almost across the state.
The website shows data for April 20, 2019, through May 20, 2019, compared to April 20, 2020, through May 20 2020.
St. Louis agencies had a 30 percent increase in demand, from 112,400 participants to 146,120. The Ozarks had a 48 percent increase from 66,545 participants to 98,636 participants. The only region that had a decrease was the region served by the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, which decreased by 4 percent, going from 72,887 participants to 69,778. It may be important to keep in mind the region was dealing with widespread flooding the same time last year.