Missouri unemployment decreased slightly in July on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The jobless rate fell two-tenths of a point to 5.2 percent. The unadjusted unemployment rate edged down a tenth of a point to 5.4 percent, more than a half a point lower than the nation's unemployment rate of 6.0 percent.
Nonfarm payroll employment fell seasonally in July, decreasing by 35,200 jobs on an unadjusted basis. Current employment of 2,671,900 jobs is 44,400 below the level reported a year ago (July 2001). On a seasonally adjusted basis, the decrease in employment was slightly less than expected, causing seasonally adjusted payroll employment to edge upward by 1,300 jobs.
A decrease in school and college employment associated with the summer break usually drives unadjusted employment down in June and July, more than offsetting seasonal gains in construction and tourism-related industries. This year, local government employment (which includes public schools) dropped by 26,000 between June and July, while state government employment was down by 2,600. State government employment includes state colleges and universities, but employment has been falling in other sectors due to budget problems. Employment in private education has not had its normal seasonal decrease this summer, slipping more gradually than usual from 52,800 in April to 45,900 in July.
Construction employment was up by 4,500 jobs, to 146,300. Retail trade employment fell by 3,100, but much of this was a seasonal drop in eating and drinking places. Many school and college food service operations are classified in this industry and cut back operations in the summer. Amusement and recreation services employment fell back by 1,800 jobs from last month's peak. Business services lost another 2,000 jobs, after seeming to have stabilized in the early months of the year. Manufacturing employment was down by 5,800 jobs from June, but this was almost completely the result of model changeover layoffs at automobile plants. No major changes were reported by other manufacturing industries.
Over-the-year employment losses have begun to ease, as the large monthly losses in 2001 have given way to smaller decreases in 2002. Nonfarm employment has fallen by 43,500 jobs over the past year, compared to the 55,000-job decrease reported between June 2001 and June 2002. Manufacturing accounted for 18,700 fewer jobs; nearly a third of this decrease was in electrical and electronic equipment. Construction employment has fallen by 7,000 jobs over the year. Business services has lost 9,600 jobs over the past year, while communications is down by more than 3,500 jobs. Trade employment has fallen by 7,300 jobs, while finance, insurance and real estate has lost 3,800, about evenly split between securities brokers and insurance brokers.
In the public sector, state government has shed 8,900 jobs over the past year, while local government has added 11,600.
Map 2. Change in Unemployment Rate
July 2001 to 2002, Seasonally Unadjusted.
Source: Labor Market Information, Missouri Department of Economic Development