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Jobs & Workforce Update

The November jobs reports shows a year over year decrease in unemployment including a slight increase Total employment for the Cape Girardeau MSA. On the surface those numbers look good but a look at the total Civilian Labor Force tells a more important story.

In the November Jobs Report issued by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center the seasonally adjusted numbers for the Cape Girardeau MSA indicated that unemployment held steady at 2.6% with a month over month increase of just 24 in total employment and year over year a decline from 3.4% to 2.6% with an increase of only 90. While those numbers give us a positive sense of stability in the market, the real area of concern is in our Civilian Labor Force numbers that show a year over year decline of 315. Which means that for every additional person moving from unemployment to employed, 4 people are leaving the workforce.

Around the Southeast Missouri region, the story was pretty much the same with a 2 to 1 ratio for persons leaving the workforce compared to gains in employment in Sikeston, Kennett, and other regional communities. The one bright spot in the region is in Poplar Bluff with an increase of approximately 200 persons employed and a gain of 44 in the overall civilian labor force.

While news stories and pundits will usually stay focused on the unemployment numbers the greater long-term concern for our region is the overall decline in our total available workforce. Seeing low unemployment numbers is always a positive sign but mixed with the steady number of job openings and need for additional employees throughout the region a declining workforce will limit future growth opportunities. Exploring strategies to bring people back into the workforce will be key to sustainability as we move into 2023.