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Missouri's unemployment rate decreased 0.2 percentage points between October and November, coming down to 4.4 percent.

That's a continued slight improvement in the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, according to the latest jobs report, but still 1 percent higher than a year ago, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the dip in the jobless rate, the civilian labor force increased more than 23,000, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center reported.

However, "labor market still showed substantial losses from 2019 levels, and a third wave of COVID-19 infections pose a threat of renewed economic challenges in the coming months," according to MERIC.

MERIC estimated there were 131,215 unemployed Missourians in November — down by 4,766 from October.

The unemployment rate peaked this year at 10.2 percent in April, before strong recoveries through July and smaller decreases in the fall.

Total payroll employment decreased by 108,100 jobs between November 2019 and last month.

"As in October, over-the-year job losses were widespread among the major sectors of the labor market, with only construction and 'other services' spared," MERIC reported.

Job losses continued to be driven by hits to services industries — including lodging, restaurants, arts, entertainment, recreation, retail and educational services.

Leisure and hospitality continued to be hardest hit as an industry, having lost more than 19 percent of its jobs since last year.

Most jobs in the Jefferson City area are in services — more than 64,000 jobs — so a significant 5.5 percent increase in the more than 11,000 goods-producing jobs in the area since last year has not been enough to offset the 3.9 percent decrease in service- producing jobs.

There are almost 24,000 government jobs in the area, but more than 17,000 of those jobs are with state government and almost 6,000 with local, so a 12.5 percent increase in less than 1,000 federal government jobs has not been enough to offset a 3.9 percent decrease in state government jobs and 3.3 percent decrease in local governments jobs.

The full November jobs report and other monthly reports are available at


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