Missouri's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose slightly during April to 4.0% from a 3.8% level in March, marking the first time Missouri has reached 4% unemployment since 1998. This rate is 0.7 percentage points higher than April of 2000. The national unemployment rate rose 0.2% points to 4.5% in April 2001 from 4.3% in March. Four of Missouri's neighboring states had lower unemployment rates during the past month. These include Iowa (2.7%), Oklahoma (3.0%), Nebraska (3.0%), and Kansas (3.5%).
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. Twelve counties had unemployment rates that were 7.0% or higher. Those with the highest rates include Macon (9.8%), Wayne (9.6%), Reynolds (9.3%), Stone (9.3%), Mississippi (8.3%), Douglas (7.9%), Pemiscot (7.9%), and Hickory (7.8%).
Conversely, there are several pockets of very low unemployment, scattered throughout the state, mainly in metropolitan areas. Thirteen counties had unemployment rates that were lower than 3.0%: Boone (1.4%), Nodaway (1.6%), Platte (2.1%), Cole (2.3%), Clay (2.5%), Cass (2.6%), Atchison (2.7%), Green (2.7%), Callaway (2.7%), St. Charles (2.8%), Perry (2.8%), Barton (2.9%), and Clinton (2.9%).