Missouri labor market conditions weakened further in June, as national economic conditions took their toll on manufacturing and business services.
The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by three-tenths of a point, from 3.8% in May to 4.1% in June, the highest since 1998. Part of this jump is the usual seasonal increase that occurs in June, as some students and others entering the labor force for the summer don't immediately find jobs. However, this June's increase is slightly higher than in the past.
The national unemployment rate also rose slightly, 0.1 percentage points, to 4.5% in June from 4.4% in May. Five of Missouri's neighboring states had lower unemployment rates during the past month. These include Iowa (2.8%), Nebraska (2.9%), Oklahoma (3.1%), Kansas (3.8%), and Kentucky (4.0%).
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 Missouri. Twenty-nine counties had unemployment rates that were 6.0% or higher.
Conversely, there are several pockets of very low unemployment mainly in metropolitan areas and northern Missouri. Nine counties had unemployment rates that were lower than 3.0%.