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School of Business
School of Business

St. Louis Job Market Shows Strength

October 12, 2017

By Timothy S. Sullivan, Ph.D.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released August's metropolitan area unemployment rates last week, and there's good news for the St. Louis region. The St. Louis Metropolitan area saw its unemployment rate drop a full percentage point -- from 5.1% in August 2016 to 4.1% in August 2017. St. Louis's improvement is tied for #66 among the 388 metropolitan areas for which BLS gathers data. Among the 51 metropolitan areas with populations of 1 million or more, the St. Louis area's August 2017 unemployment rate is tied for 19th lowest.

Between August 2016 and August 2017, the St. Louis Metropolitan Area added 15,500 jobs -- a 1.1% increase. The largest percent increases in employment came in Education & Health Services (2.8%), Professional & Business Services (2.4%), and Financial Activities (2.2%). Employment fell in Information (-2.0%), Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-0.8%), and Government (-0.3%).

Between August 2016 and August 2017, the unemployment rate fell in every county within the metropolitan area. The drops were largest in St. Louis City (-1.4%), Madison County (-1.3%), St. Clair County (-1.1%), and Franklin County (-1.1%). (BLS defines the St. Louis Metropolitan Area as St. Louis City and St. Louis County, the Missouri counties of Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, St. Charles, and Warren, plus the Illinois counties of Clinton, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair.)

The one caveat is that all of the August 2017 numbers are preliminary and will likely be adjusted next month. But the early news is good.

Timothy S. Sullivan, Ph.D. is an Instructor in the Department of Economics & Finance and the Director of the Office of Regional Economic Analysis in the School of Business at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He can be reached at

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