December surge caps turbulent 2020 for Missouri unemployment

Missouri’s final snapshot of monthly unemployment for 2020, released late last month, offered evidence of another month in which the state’s unemployment rate exceeded 2019 levels and averages from the last half-decade.

The state’s seasonally adjusted non-farm unemployment rate rose to 5.8% in December 2020, marking a significant increase over the December 2019 rate of 3.4%.

That continued a trend that started in the spring, following a surge in job losses spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Missouri’s unemployment rate reached 10.2% in April 2020, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Missouri’s five-year average unemployment rate for the month of April is less than half that number, at 5%.

The state’s unemployment rate was above Missouri’s five-year average from March through December.

Though April’s peak lingered into May, unemployment gradually decreased going into the autumn. The rate reached 4.5% in November, before increasing in December.

In 2019, unemployment never surpassed 3.5%, sitting comfortably below the state’s five-year average and remaining constant until the onset of the pandemic and the corresponding recession.


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