Missouri’s unemployment remains low; cost of living rated 6th lowest in U.S.

(The Center Square) – Missouri’s unemployment rate continues to be at a record level and its cost of living is one of the lowest in the nation, according to reports from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

Unemployment remained at a record low in January, and revisions to previous monthly reports led to lower levels of unemployment in 2022 than previously reported.

The reporting agency, the research division of the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, also reported Missouri had the sixth-lowest cost of living in the U.S. in 2022.

Missouri’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.7% in January, the same as December 2022. That’s two-tenths of a percentage point lower than the January 2022 rate of 2.9%. The national unemployment rate decreased from 3.5% in December 2022 to 3.4% in January.

Missouri’s unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for more than five years.

The estimated number of Missourians without jobs and looking for work in January was 80 less than December’s 81,965. However, compared to last January the number of unemployed people looking for work was down by 7,693, a decrease of 8.6%.

Missouri’s unemployment rate decreased from a revised 2.9% in January 2022 to 2.1% in May and June. The rate gradually increased to 2.7% by December. The 2022 rates were lower than any year since tracking began in 1976. The number of jobs in Missouri increased by approximately 83,100 during 2022.

Previously released employment and unemployment estimates for the state were revised through an annual revision and benchmarking process. The revised estimates reflect additional data and other estimations developed during the year. New population controls from the U.S. Census Bureau also was included to determine the revisions.

The center compiled the 2022 average cost of living for all 50 states, in cooperation with the Council for Community and Economic Research. Groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services were assigned a numerical rating. States were ranked by composite score consisting of the average ratings in the categories. Missouri received a rating of 89.1.

The top five states with the lowest annual average cost of living in 2022 were Mississippi (85), Oklahoma (85.8), Kansas (87.5), Alabama (88.1) and Georgia (88.6). The most expensive were Hawaii (184), Washington, D.C. (152.2), Massachusetts (149.7), California (137.6) and New York (134.5).

Columbia (95) had the highest cost of living among Missouri cities participating in the research. Joplin (82) had the lowest cost of living in Missouri and tied for sixth nationally with Tupelo, Mississippi, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research website.

The national ranking excludes taxes and non-consumer expenditures. More than 90,000 prices covering 60 different items create the basis of the rankings as information is collected by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and university applied economic centers.

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