December unemployment rises to 3.3% as state adds 67,000 jobs over year

Missouri closed 2019 with 3.3% unemployment in December, up from 3.1% in November, the Department of Economic Development announced Thursday. U.S. unemployment was 3.5%, marking the 41st consecutive month in which state unemployment was below the national rate, according to the report.

For the year, total employment in the state grew by 67,289, or 2.3%, to just over 3 million. The number of unemployed people jumped 8.1% to nearly 102,000 over the same period.

Nonfarm employment for the year grew 0.7%, offset by a net loss of 8,500 jobs across the state in December.

Sector gains and losses

The monthly loss came from the service sector which shed 7,200 jobs in December, tempering year-over-year gain to 16,300 or 0.7%. Professional and business service jobs shrunk by 800 jobs, or 0.2%, for the year and 4,500 for the month.

Health care and social assistance netted 8,600 jobs — a 2% increase — in 2019 and lost 1,700 jobs in December. Manufacturing showed very little change for the year, with job growth offset by 1,100 fewer jobs in December.

Buoyed by gains in federal and state government jobs, the public sector grew by 1,300 jobs, or 0.3%, for the year. Local governments posted a net loss of 1,200 jobs, or 0.4%, since December 2018, despite a surge of 800 new jobs in December 2019.

Metro area employment

Missouri’s two largest metros saw modest gains for the year.

Kansas City had 1,120,200 nonfarm jobs in December, a gain of 500 from November and 16,300 jobs from a year earlier. The number of mining, logging and construction jobs in the area swelled 12.2%. Administration and support jobs gained 5,100, or 7.4%, for the year. Private sector growth was accompanied by a surge in the public sector. Federal and local governments netted 1,500 and 4,900 jobs in the city, respectively, for 2019.

These gains in Kansas City were offset by losses of 2,600 jobs in retail and 2,000 in manufacturing for 2019.

St. Louis posted 1,407,600 jobs last month, a net gain of 1% for 2019 despite shedding 2,400 jobs in December. The number of service jobs in 2019 grew 9,300, or 0.8%, which was tempered by a drop of 6,700 for the month. Mining, logging and construction jobs grew 6.5% despite a loss of 1,200 jobs in December.

The city posted net losses in both federal and state jobs, but these losses were greatly mitigated by a gain of 3,300 local government jobs for the year.

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