WASHINGTON (AP) — The government shutdown may have affected October's jobs numbers. But not how you think.
In the height of irony, the 16 days of federal worker furloughs and government disruptions may have helped, not hurt, the improved jobs picture.
Because of the shutdown, the Bureau of Labor Statistics delayed the release of the jobs numbers by one week to allow more time to collect payroll and household data. That extra time resulted in an above average response rate for payroll data.
A stronger participation rate can skew the hiring numbers up. As a result, to some economists, Friday's robust jobs number is looking slightly inflated.
The St. Louis area unemployment rate still sits above seven percent--at 7.5 %--but there is good news in the latest set of job numbers.
The number of jobs in the area has increased over last year. Some of the sectors that showed the largest gains were trade, education, and health services. While the area with the greatest number of losses was the government.
In total, there are 2,300 more jobs in March 2013 compared to March 2012.
That was up from 8.7 percent in December and back to almost the 9.1 percent rate of January 2012.
Department Director Jay Rowell blamed the uneven recovery the state has experienced since the recession.
The number of unemployed people in the state rose by 4 percent to 594,800. The state added a relatively small 7,100 jobs in January.
The biggest job losses were among companies in the trade, transportation and utilities sector where the state lost a net 5,500 jobs in January. Government agencies also shed a net 1,500 jobs. Educational and health services employers added 5,500 jobs.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in January. That was slightly higher than December.