National unemployment rate at 3.5 percent, Missouri sets new series low at 2.4 percent

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – Missouri’s unemployment rate of 2.4 percent for September is the lowest it has been in the history of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly Employment Situation report. This number is even lower than the national rate of 3.5 percent.

Southeast Missouri State professor David Yaskewich said these numbers will be difficult to sustain. 

“It’ll be hard to maintain the unemployment rate this low going into next year,” he said. “As long as we have inflation still high and a tight labor market, those two elements will encourage the Federal Reserve to continue with its tightening of the money supply and raising interest rates.” 

Yaskewich does not expect a sharp rise in unemployment, but he does expect a gradual drop in the number of jobs available in the coming months. 

“I don’t think you would see any sharp, sudden spike in unemployment,” he said. “I think you would see a gradual reduction in the number of jobs that are available or the number of job openings that take place. I think you’ll see those dry up before you see any significant increase in the unemployment rate.” 

Yaskewich said the Federal Reserve’s efforts are a necessary step toward getting inflation under control, even if that means a rise in unemployment figures. 

“Reducing the rate of inflation should be goal number one of policymakers, and if that involves weakening the labor market a bit because of higher interest rates and tighter monetary policy, that could be well worth it if it gets inflation back to historically normal levels,” he said.

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