Unemployment in Missouri continued to edge up in November, however employment seems to be stabilizing. Missouri's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased in November to 4.7 percent from October's rate of 4.5 percent.
Looking at state changes between October and November, employment (seasonally adjusted) dipped by only 400 jobs, to 2,724,000. This figure may be slightly misleading, since a motor vehicle plant in the St. Louis area came back on line following a brief layoff for inventory adjustment. Net job losses in Missouri since the January peak are now 46,200, or 1.7 percent.
The national unemployment rate increased to 5.7 percent in November. Five of Missouri's neighboring states had lower unemployment rates during the past month. These include Nebraska (3.2 percent), Iowa (3.4 percent), Oklahoma (4.0 percent), Kansas (4.1 percent), and Tennessee (4.6 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 high unemployment levels are particularly pervasive in southeast, west central and north central Missouri. Thirty-two counties and St. Louis City had unemployment rates that were 6.0 percent or higher.
The highest unemployment rates were found in Douglas (11.2 percent), Reynolds (11.9 percent), Linn (10.7 percent), Wayne (10.3 percent), Pemiscot (9.4 percent), Bollinger (9.1 percent), Benton (8.9 percent), Wright (8.9 percent), Ripley (8.6 percent), and Mississippi (8.5 percent) counties.
Areas of low unemployment are spread throughout the state with the greatest concentration of low unemployment in November in northwestern Missouri counties. Nine counties had unemployment rates below 3 percent.
The lowest unemployment rates were found in Nodaway (1.2 percent), Boone (1.7 percent) and Atchison (1.9 percent) counties.
Chart 1. Unemployment Rates, Seasonally
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor