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St. Louis economy stays sluggish in May with gain of just 300 jobs

St. Louis economy stays sluggish in May with gain of just 300 jobs

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CWE hospitality workers job fair

Jordan Blackmer, general manager of Mission Taco in the Central West End, has much of the far end of the Khorassan Ballroom to himself as he waits for prospective employees. About a dozen Central West End restaurants and the Chase Park Plaza hotel were looking for hospitality employees during a job fair held, Monday, May 3, 2021, in the ballroom at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. Photo by Hillary Levin, hlevin@post-dispatch.com

The St. Louis area added just 300 jobs last month, continuing a slow recovery from last year's pandemic-induced mass layoffs.

The latest number, a seasonally adjusted estimate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, follows a revised gain of 1,000 jobs in April, a gain of 1,900 jobs in March and a loss of 1,700 jobs in February.

The metro area lost 187,100 jobs in March and April of 2000, and remains 73,700 jobs below its pre-pandemic employment level.

The area's leisure and hospitality and construction industries added jobs last month, but health care and retail firms reduced employment. Figures for specific sectors are not seasonally adjusted.

Job gains were rapid last summer, averaging more than 20,000 a month as businesses emerged from shutdowns, but have slowed since then.

The BLS reported Wednesday that Missouri's unemployment rate rose to 4.2% in May from 4.1% in April. Illinois' jobless rate was flat at 7.1%. Metro St. Louis' unemployment rate, which was 4.7% in April, will be updated next week.

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