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Missouri unemployment grows amid cutoff of federal benefits

Parson cut off $300 weekly federal unemployment benefits June 12

ST. LOUIS — The number of unemployed Missourians rose in June, the same month that Gov. Mike Parson cut off access to federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits in a bid to address worker shortages.

Beyond that statistic, there was little consensus about the meaning of a new state unemployment report, released Wednesday.

Max Gillman, an economics professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said he favored an analysis of data that was not seasonally adjusted, arguing that the pandemic has made seasonally adjusted data less meaningful because the country isn't experiencing a typical business cycle.

The raw data show that the state's labor force grew by more than 28,000 last month. Compared with the same statistic from May and a similar period in 2019, the increase was large, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"It's a huge change," Gillman said.

Meanwhile, employment grew 12,630, while the number of unemployed Missourians was up 15,786. The unemployment rate grew from 4.7% in May to 5.1% in June.

Private service jobs grew the most month to month, at 11,800. That was followed by those in goods production (7,200) and manufacturing (3,700).

Parson cut off $300 weekly federal unemployment benefits June 12. Citing Jefferies LLC economists, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that the number of unemployment-benefit recipients was falling at a faster rate in Missouri and 21 other states canceling enhanced and extended payments.

Radha Gopalan, professor of finance at Washington University's Olin School of Business, said he still favored seasonally adjusted data, which consider fluctuations that naturally occur during certain periods. 

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