Missouri's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate eased slightly in July, falling to 3.9 percent from June's rate of 4.2 percent.
About 128,300 Missourians were estimated to have been jobless in July, down by 2,000 from June but up by 18,500 from a year ago.
The typical seasonal pattern would have been for a further increase in unemployment in July, which did not occur this year. However, seasonal unemployment patterns can vary somewhat from summer to summer. The current seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.9 percent is very similar to the rates in the previous six months, suggesting that underlying unemployment in the state has leveled off at just under 4 percent, with some monthly variation around that figure.
The national unemployment rate remained at 4.5 percent in July. Four of Missouri's neighboring states had lower unemployment rates during the past month. These include Nebraska (2.9 percent), Iowa (3.1 percent), Oklahoma (3.1percent) and Kansas (3.7 percent)
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 unemployment levels are particularly pervasive in southeast and north central Missouri. Thirty-one counties had unemployment rates that were 6.0 percent or higher.
The highest unemployment rates were found in Wayne (14.7 percent), Linn (11.8 percent), Ripley (9.8 percent), Reynolds (9.6 percent), Butler (9.2 percent), Pemiscot (9.2 percent) and Washington (9.0 percent) counties.
Conversely, there are several pockets of very low unemployment mainly in suburban and metropolitan areas. Ten counties had unemployment rates of 3 percent or less.
The lowest unemployment rates were found in Boone (1.8 percent), Harrison (2.3 percent), Platte (2.5 percent), Nodaway (2.5 percent), Greene (2.6 percent), Clay (2.8 percent), Mercer (2.9 percent), Livingston (2.9 percent), Cass (3.0 percent) and Barton (3.0 percent) counties.