Makinizi Hoover
Strategic Advocacy Manager, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Isabella Lucy
Graphic Designer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Stephanie Ferguson
Director, Global Employment Policy & Special Initiatives, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


September 15, 2023


The state of Missouri has a favorable landscape for businesses and individuals, with a diverse economy, exceedingly strong labor market recovery, and a robust small business ecosystem. Immigrants contribute meaningfully to the state's workforce and economy, while educational attainment, quality of life, and cost of living factors remain promising. 

The Worker Shortage Across America - updated September 2023

Explore the interactive map below to see the impact of the worker shortage crisis in each state.

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The Chamber’s Worker Shortage Index ratio indicates the number of available workers for every job opening. A ratio above 1.0 indicates a surplus of available workers compared to job openings.

Missouri’s Labor Market 

Prior to the pandemic, Missouri’s labor market was healthy. The state had more workers than jobs to fill, and more workers were being hired into jobs than leaving them. While the state's unemployment rate stood on par with the national figure at 3.4%, its labor force participation rate was slightly higher than the national rate of 63.4%. 

Missouri’s current labor market is close to fully recovered, with some metrics measuring even better than they did prior to the pandemic. However, the state is still being hit heavily by the nationwide labor shortage.  

Missouri’s hiring rate continues to surpass its quit rate, and its unemployment rate remains lower than it was before the pandemic. These trends are particularly promising for employers, who have a surplus of 25,000 job openings compared to February 2020. On the downside, Missouri is grappling with a large workforce shortage, evident by the fact that there are only 65 available workers for every 100 open job positions in the Show Me State. 

Missouri’s Business Environment 

Missouri's business environment is diverse, with a robust agriculture and forestry sector, a growing tech industry, and numerous colleges and universities. Additionally, the state is home to nearly a dozen Fortune 500 company headquarters. 

Most Missourians are employed by the trade, transportation, and utilities industries, as well as education and health services, with construction employment being relatively minimal. Missouri’s employment landscape comes from its numerous healthcare firms, in addition to the many automotive and aviation companies which operate in the state. 

Missouri boasts a thriving small business ecosystem, with 99.4% of all Missouri businesses falling into this category. Nearly half of Missouri's workforce works within small businesses. Within this dynamic landscape, women own 43% of small businesses, 10.5% are minority-owned, 2.3% are owned by Hispanics, and 8.3% are veteran-owned. 

Missouri’s Educational Attainment 

Around 30% of Missouri’s population has obtained their high school diploma or its equivalent, surpassing the U.S. average of 26.1% in 2022. 19.7% of the population has attained a bachelor's degree, while 12.5% have secured a graduate degree, both slightly below the national averages. 

Fortunately for employers in the state, the majority of Missouri college freshmen are remaining in the state for their higher education, where the average in-state tuition is $8,992. Out-of-state tuition in Missouri is $20,877, which is significantly less than the average out-of-state tuition of $28,000. Roughly 360,000 undergraduate students are enrolled in a Missouri college for the 2022-2023 school year.  These students supply a rich talent pool from which local employers can recruit talent.  

Quality of Life 

Missouri Income Profile

Missouri's median household income mirrors the national average of around $70,000, which places the state at the 34th rank among all states. Missouri has a progressive tax system, with tax rates varying from 1.5% to 5.3% across nine income brackets. This places the state among those with relatively lower state tax rates. 

A quarter of Missouri’s workforce are remote workers. For those commuting into an office, the average commute time is 23.9 minutes. The Council for Community and Economic Research measures states’ costs of living compared to the national average of 100. Missouri’s cost of living index falls at 88.4, making the state more affordable than the U.S. average, with the fourth lowest cost of living in the United States. The median rent settles at $843, while the median home cost is $239,743, both falling beneath the national average. Nearly 67.6% of the population owned their housing unit in 2021. The state experienced a minimal growth rate of 0.4% from 2020 to 2022.  


Missouri's Immigration fact sheet

In the U.S., immigrants tend to be of working age in comparison to native-born individuals. Consequently, they are more actively engaged in the labor force, playing a dual role as both consumers and taxpayers, contributing to help fund programs like Medicare and Social Security. 

Looking at Missouri in particular, immigrants comprise 4.2% of the state's population, totaling 258,741 individuals. Their collective spending power amounts to $7.2 billion, while their tax contributions reach $2.5 billion. 

About the authors

Makinizi Hoover

Makinizi Hoover

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Isabella Lucy

Isabella Lucy

Stephanie Ferguson

Stephanie Ferguson