(The Center Square) – More people are working in Missouri and fewer are looking for work than last year, according to Missouri’s Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development.
The monthly jobs report for May showed total payroll employment increased by 71,800 jobs from May 2021 to this year. The most significant gain was in professional and business services (24,900 jobs), followed by leisure and hospitality (22,400 jobs) and trade, transportation and utilities (8,600 jobs).
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by three-tenths of a percentage point in May, declining to 3.1% from the revised April 2022 rate of 3.4%.
The national unemployment rate remained unchanged in April at 3.6%. Missouri’s unemployment rate has been at or below the national percentage for the last five years.
The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center reported the average hourly wage for a private-sector job was $28.41 in May, up from $28.29 in April and $27.64 in May 2021.
According to MERIC, Missouri’s unemployment rate is close to the record of 3% reached in July 2018. The rate slowly increased to 3.2% in April 2019 and to 3.5% in October 2019, where it remained until the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Missouri’s unemployment was 10.1% in May 2020.
The May 2022 rate is 1.4 percentage points lower than the May 2021 rate of 4.5%. The estimated number of unemployed Missourians looking for work was 96,446 in May, a decrease of 7,159 from 103,605 searching for employment in April and down from 138,980 in May 2021.
Private industry employment decreased by 1,500 jobs and government employment decreased by 1,600 jobs, according to the report.