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Job fair for NGA

FILE PHOTO -- Felecia Harris (left), of Belleville, talks to Janet Golitko, a human resources officer for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, during a job fair for the NGA in the T-Rex building in downtown St. Louis on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. Photo by Cristina M. Fletes,

The St. Louis area's unemployment fell to 3.4 percent in February, ending a streak of four straight monthly increases.

The drop, from January's 3.7 percent, left the rate exactly where it was a year ago, as seasonally adjusted by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank.

The metro area's jobless rate hit a record low of 3.1 percent in September before it began the four-month rise. Unemployment in St. Louis remains below the national rate of 3.8 percent.

The region's labor force -- the number of people working or looking for a job -- grew by just 1,770 people, or 0.1 percent, between February 2018 and February 2019. The number of people counted as unemployed fell by 2,217, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The BLS surveys households to calculate the workforce and unemployment figures. A separate survey of employers showed that the metro area lost 6,500 jobs in February. 

Get updates every weekday morning about the latest news in the St. Louis business community.