Missouri's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose slightly during January to 3.6% from a 3.4% level in December. This rate is 0.3 percentage points higher than January of 2000. The national unemployment rate also rose to 4.2% from December's 4.0% figure. Three of Missouri's neighboring states had lower unemployment rates during the past month. These include Iowa (2.5%), Nebraska (2.5%) and Oklahoma (2.6%)
Unemployment levels are not distributed evenly across Missouri, with pockets of high unemployment persisting in several areas (county-level rates are not seasonally adjusted). Counties with the highest levels of unemployment continue to be clustered in three main regions: (1) Southeast Missouri; (2) the Lake of the Ozarks; and (3) north central Missouri along U.S. Highway 36. A fourth region of extremely high unemployment has developed in the Branson region, due to seasonal effects in the tourism and entertainment industries. Twenty-five counties had unemployment rates that were 7.0% or higher. Those with the highest rates include Stone (21.2%), Taney (18%), Macon (11.1%), Hickory (10.4%), Wayne (9.8%), Reynolds (9.6%), Benton (9.3%), Miller (9.3%), Washington (9.3%), Douglas (9.2%), and Wright (9.1%).
Conversely, there are several pockets of very low unemployment, which are located in the metropolitan areas of the state and in northwest Missouri. Eleven counties had unemployment rates that were lower than 3.0%: Boone (1.4%), Nodaway (1.7%), Platte (2.3%), Cole (2.3%), Atchison (2.4%), St. Charles (2.5%), Greene (2.5%), Clay (2.5%), Saline (2.7%), St. Louis (2.7%), and Callaway (2.8%).
Further, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently recalculated unemployment figures for 1999 and 2000. The 2000 average unemployment rate for Missouri was 3.5%, higher than the 2.8% originally projected. The BLS revisions are based on changes in the Current Population Survey component of its employment survey.
Chart 1. Unemployment Rates,
Seasonally Adjusted, 1999-2000.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor
Map 1. Unemployment Rates, Seasonally Unadjusted.
Source: Labor Market Information, Missouri Department of Economic Development