Unemployment claims jump across region

    The unemployment rate and first-time jobless claims both saw significant increases across the region in April as a result of stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to figures released by the state on Friday. Statewide unemployment was 9.7 percent, up from 3.9 percent in March.

    Crawford County reported one of the highest unemployment rates in the region at 9.5 percent, with 941 new jobless claims. In March, unemployment in the county was 5.8 percent with 554 new jobless claims. Both were dramatic increases from February, when the county had just 65 new jobless claims and unemployment stood at 4.7 percent.
    Phelps County reported 1,449 new jobless claims in April and had an unemployment rate of 6.6 percent. In March, Phelps County reported 829 new jobless claims and an unemployment rate of 4.4 percent, while in February, unemployment was just 3.8 percent and the county had 81 new jobless claims.
    Every county in the region saw significant increases in first-time jobless claims and unemployment in April as compared to March.
    • Dent County—Unemployment 6.1 percent, up from 4.8 percent; initial jobless claims 434, up from 212.
    • Washington County—Unemployment 10.4 percent, up from 6.9 percent; initial jobless claims 970, up from 473.
    • Gasconade County—Unemployment 9.5 percent, up 4.0 percent; initial jobless claims 651, up from 433.
    • Franklin County—Unemployment 10.7 percent, up from 4.7 percent; initial jobless claims 5,083, up from 3,670 (up from just 288 in February).
    • Maries County—Unemployment 5.6 percent, up from 4.3 percent; initial jobless claims 277, up from 133.
    • Pulaski County—Unemployment 7.7 percent, up from 4.9 percent; initial jobless claims 1,435, up from 654 (up from just 40 in February).
    • Iron County—Unemployment 8.5 percent, up from 7.4 percent; initial jobless claims 373, up from 147.
    In Missouri, seasonally adjusted employment decreased by 305,100 jobs over the month, and by 327,800 jobs over the year, the largest one-month and one-year decreases since the current data series began in 1990. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 9.7 percent over the month, more than doubling the previous month, and tripling over the year.
    Missouri’s smoothed seasonally adjusted unemployment rate had its largest monthly and yearly increases ever in April 2020. The April 2020 rate of 9.7 percent was up by nearly six percentage points from the March 2020 rate of 3.9 percent and 6.5 percentage points from the April 2019 rate of 3.2 percent.
    Missouri’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was below the national rate, which was 14.7 percent in April 2020. The estimated number of unemployed Missourians was 292,690 in April 2020, up by 171,103 from March’s 109,616. The state’s not-seasonally-adjusted rate was 9.8 percent in April 2020, up from 3.9 percent in March 2020. The corresponding national rate was 14.4 percent.
    According to state officials, under normal circumstances, an increase in the unadjusted rate from March to April would be highly unusual, but COVID-19 resulted in unprecedented economic fluctuations. The rapidly changing economic situation will likely continue to evolve and be reflected in next month’s jobs report.

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