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Jumping Job Numbers or Lagging Labor Force?

The state is starting to get creative when it comes to promoting new job creation numbers, despite a dropping number of workers in the labor force.

The state is starting to get creative when it comes to promoting new job creation numbers, despite a dropping number of workers in the labor force.

The latest pitch: Employers throughout the state added more employees during the first quarter than in any of the eight states bordering Missouri.

Payrolls across the state increased by 27,500 during the first quarter, according to a press release distributed earlier this week by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

Analysis of the data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, shows the labor force in the state fell by 28,800 in the same period.

Therefore, the labor force dropped by more workers across Missouri during the first quarter than in any neighboring state, except for in Tennessee, which fell by 31,000 workers.

In Illinois, for example, payrolls increased by 22,000 and the labor force increased by 3,800.

Anticipating that the state would promote the job creation numbers for the first quarter, I compared the last week.

I did not anticipate the state would compare the numbers to the eight states bordering Missouri.

Unfortunately, when I delved back into the data, I discovered that the employment numbers I reported last week were incorrect. The error was all mine, not the state's, and I apologize for the mistake.

According to numbers provided by the economic development department, Missouri added 28,200 jobs during the first quarter and 29,232 workers left the labor force during the same time period.

Why are the federal and state payroll and labor force totals different?

Both reports are seasonally adjusted, but the federal numbers are rounded in the thousands.

People leave the labor force for any number of reasons. However, to be counted as unemployed, even after unemployment benefits run out, a person must continue to actively search for a job.

Citing either the payroll numbers or the labor force data is accurate.

Examining both, though, provides a clearer picture of the state of the economy.

By Brian R. Hookbrhook@missourijournal.com, (314) 482-7944

Hook is editor of Missouri Journal, which tracks the economy across the Show-Me State

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This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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