Unemployment in Missouri dipped slightly from September to October.

The October unemployment rate for the state fell 0.2 percentage points to 4.6%, according to figures released Wednesday by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

Missouri's unemployment rate in September was reported at 4.8%, down sharply from 7% in August and a peak of 10.2% in April. It had spiked upward at that time from 3.9% in March because of the pandemic.

In a statement, MERIC noted that the October 2020 rate was still 1.2 percentage points higher than the October 2019 rate because of "lingering layoffs from COVID-19 shutdowns."

The estimated number of unemployed Missourians was at 137,729 in October, down from September's 146,051, according to MERIC, which also calculated that more than 308,000 Missourians were unemployed at the peak.

Nationwide, unemployment was at 6.9% in October, compared with 7.9% in September and a peak of 14.7% in April.

October numbers for the state's metropolitan areas have not been released. The pandemic that arrived in the area in March, and eventually led to an economic shutdown, caused unemployment to triple for the Joplin area, going from 3.5% in February and March to 10.6% in April. That was the highest level the metro area, which includes Jasper and Newton counties, has seen in at least 30 years. Records of the MERIC database go back only to 1990.

The previous high for Joplin in the past 30 years was 8.7% in September 2009 and again for several months in the fall of 2010 during the Great Recession.

The rates are seasonally adjusted, meaning they reflect seasonal trends, such as construction in the summer, and are considered a more accurate reflection of unemployment than unadjusted numbers.

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