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Missouri's low unemployment, other factors show potential for economic growth

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Multiple sectors hiring in Missouri allowed for the state to add 7800 people to the labor force last month and 6300 jobs to close out the year.

A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Missouri’s unemployment rate is down by a little more than 1% compared to this time last year.

It’s currently at 2.8%, which is lower than the national average of 3.5%. Jared Bernstein, a member of President Joe Biden’s council of economic advisers, said these numbers are a good sign for 2023.

“When you have the combination of more jobs, lower inflation, that is a kind of a tailwind for households, for consumers in the state," he said. "It helps create this virtuous cycle. People have jobs, their paychecks have more buying power, and that keeps the economy humming along. And that's what we've seen in the state of late.”

Bernstein added Missourians aren’t completely out of the woods yet, but the economy may be moving in the right direction. Multiple sectors hiring in Missouri allowed for the state to add 7,800 people to the labor force last month and 6,300 jobs to close out the year. Notable developments in the labor market come from the manufacturing sector.

“Inflation slowing down, robust hiring people coming into the job market, those are all the kinds of indicators that are precisely the opposite of an economy that's grinding into a recession," Bernstein said.

A poll from the World Economic Forum found nearly two-thirds of the economists who responded believe there will be a recession this year. But Bernstein adds as the Federal Reserve is expected to slow interest rate hikes, there could be more steady, stable economic growth.

Kassidy Arena is the Engagement Producer for KBIA. In her role, she reports and produces stories highlighting underrepresented communities, focuses on community outreach and promoting media literacy. She was born in Berkeley, California, raised in Omaha, Nebraska and graduated with a degree in Journalism at the University of Missouri, Columbia.
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