Unemployment rate steady in December

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri's labor market conditions and unemployment rate remained fairly steady in December, the state Economic Development Department said Monday.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent in December, down from 5.1 percent in November but the same rate as in December 2001.

Without the adjustment for typical seasonal changes in employment, Missouri's unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in December, the same as November and also the same as a year ago.

Missouri's unemployment rates remains almost a full percentage point below the national rate.

For most of 2002, Missouri's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was around 5 percent, peaking at 5.4 percent in June.

Boone and Nodaway counties had the state's lowest unemployment rates at 1.8 percent. But Pemiscot, Wayne, Reynolds and McDonald counties all had double-digit unemployment rates.

While unemployment stayed largely unchanged in December, non-farm employment continued to fall. Last month's loss was 6,500 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis. Nonfarm employment has been falling steadily since February 2001, just before the recession began.

The Economic Development Department attributed the decrease to retail trade, where employment dropped by 5,300 jobs. The construction industry continued its decline in jobs, losing 1,300 in December, but business services bucked the trend, growing 1,500 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Over the past year, non-farm payrolls lost 39,900 jobs, seasonally adjusted, with construction accounting for nearly a third of that. Manufacturing employment fell by 7,900, with electrical equipment making up 3,800 jobs. The sectors of wholesale trade, transportation and utilities, business services and state government have all lost jobs. The only consistently growing industry is health services, which gained 2,900 jobs.

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On the Net

  • Economic Development Department: www.missouridevelopment.org

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