Missouri unemployment hits 5.8% in December as pandemic poses continued jobs threat

Missouri’s seasonally adjusted non-farm unemployment rate shot up to 5.8% in December. That marked a significant increase over November’s rate of 4.5% and the December 2019 rate of 3.4%.

Closing out a year of historic job losses for the state following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Missouri’s labor market in December continued to show significant losses relative to 2019. Moreover, continuing COVID-19 infections “pose a threat of continued economic challenges,” according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

Missouri employers added 10,400 jobs in December, but the state’s labor force grew by 70,000, driving the increase in the unemployment rate.

The largest sector-specific job gains for the month were in trade, transportation and utilities (6,300); professional and business services (3,100); and leisure and hospitality (1,800). Educational and health services experienced the largest losses of any sector, shedding 1,100 jobs.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate been at or below the national rate for 69 consecutive months. The national unemployment for December was 6.7%.

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