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Modest gain in March leaves St. Louis with pandemic deficit of 74,900 jobs

Modest gain in March leaves St. Louis with pandemic deficit of 74,900 jobs

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Metro St. Louis added 2,000 jobs in March but has a long way to go to get back to pre-pandemic employment levels.

New seasonally adjusted figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the metro area with 74,900 fewer jobs than it had in February 2020, before COVID-19 caused mass furloughs and layoffs. That is a drop of more than 5%.

The March gain follows a loss of 1,600 jobs in February, revised from an early estimate of a 400-job loss.

The leisure and hospitality industry, which includes restaurants and hotels, added 6,800 jobs in March but is down 25,700 jobs in the last 12 months. Numbers for specific sectors are not seasonally adjusted.

Other big losses since March 2020 include 13,100 jobs in   professional and business services, 7,100 in health care, 6,900 in manufacturing and 6,100 in local government.

Construction is one of the few bright spots. Its sector added 3,600 jobs in March and shows a 12-month gain of 1,000 jobs.

The BLS also said Friday that Missouri's unemployment rate dipped from 4.3% in February to 4.2% in March, while Illinois' jobless rate dropped from 7.4% to 7.1%. Metro St. Louis' unemployment rate, which was 5.0% in February, will be updated April 28.

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