St. Louis' spring hiring slump has given way to a summer surge.
New seasonally adjusted figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the metro area adding 4,500 jobs in August, the largest number since January. The BLS also now says the area added 3,600 jobs in July, up from an early estimate of 2,300.
Between February and June, metro-area job gains averaged just 400 a month. St. Louis has now added 25,600 jobs in the past year, but it remains 65,100 jobs below the pre-pandemic level in February 2020.
The summer job gains came despite the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19, which caused a record level of hospitalizations in Missouri in August.
The St. Louis area's leisure and hospitality industry, which includes restaurants, shed 1,300 jobs in August, but that was offset by gains in manufacturing and business services. Local government also showed a seasonal hiring surge as schools reopened.
The BLS figures showed that Missouri gained 7,300 jobs in August after adding 11,400 in July. Since Missouri terminated residents' access to expanded federal unemployment benefits in June, employment in the state has grown by 0.7%, compared with national job growth of 0.9%. Gov. Mike Parson claimed that the benefits were hindering job growth by discouraging Missourians from looking for work.
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