Each month we get the unemployment figures from the economic development department…But they’re only one-sixth of the story.
What we get each month is known as the U-3 report, the total unemployed as a percent of the civilian labor force. But the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are six levels of unemployment. The top one is U-6, which is the total unemployed, plus people marginally attached to the labor force, plus those with part-time jobs who hope for something better , plus discouraged workers who have given up looking.
The average “official” Missouri rate last year was 8.4 percent. But the U-6 inclusive rate was 14.4. That’s about a point-and-a-half below the national U-6 average and half a point below the national average.. Bureau economist Linda Nickisch in the Kansas City office says the U-6 trends in the last two years show fewer “discouraged workers.”
The bureau says Missouri’s unemployment numbers have been dropping in all six categories it measures and the numbers have been declining faster in Missouri than they have been nationwide.