Kansas City Economy Recovers as Missouri Unemployment Decreases | KCUR 89.3


Unemployment rates in Missouri have fallen significantly for a year, a sign that the economy is recovering from a downturn fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that September unemployment rates were down in eight of Missouri’s metropolitan areas compared to the same time last year.

Frank Lenk, director of research services for the regional council for Central America, said these numbers show that the economy is continuing to recover.

“The economy is in the process of reclaiming most of the jobs that were lost during the pandemic, and in Kansas City, nearly 90% of jobs that have recovered were lost right at the height of the pandemic,” Lenk said. “So these numbers reflect a sequel for Kansas City.”

The Missouri Business Alert reported that the Kansas City unemployment rate was 3.5% in September, nearly 2% less than last year. St. Louis also recorded a significant decrease of 2.4% to 3.3%. Colombia’s unemployment rate was the lowest among the Missouri metropolitan areas at 1.8%, a decrease of 1.5%.

Connor Giffin

The Missouri Business Alert reports that eight Missouri metros were down significantly year over year in September unemployment rates.

Another sign of a recovering economy is marked by US employers created 531,000 jobs in October, according to the Department of Labor. However, as the workforce stagnates, many companies struggle with labor shortages and supply chain problems.

Lenk said one of the biggest factors preventing people from returning to work is childcare as providers have dwindled during the pandemic. He said two-thirds of people who used to work but are no longer are women.

Another factor is a change in the priorities of many workers. As companies struggle to fill jobs, more power has shifted from employers to workers.

“Employees reassess what it means to work and change jobs. They give up like crazy to find something that suits their lifestyle better, ”said Lenk.

This shortage of labor and in the supply chain comes from the fact that the demand for goods and services has increased dramatically. Lenk said that after the COVID-19 vaccine became available, more people felt safe to spend the money they had saved.

According to Lenk, this inflation leads to empty shelves, rising wages and rising costs. However, he said rising wages could bring more people back into work.

“We still believe that these supply bottlenecks and price increases that people are now experiencing are slowing down a bit,” said Lenk. “It will probably take about a year to fully relax, but by that point, next year, we expect things to feel more normal for people.”

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