Missouri saw the biggest one-month increase ever in the state unemployment rate in April because of COVID-19 related job losses, the Missouri Department of Economic Development stated in a Friday news release.

The rate rose to 9.7 percent from the 3.9 percent reported for March.

The increase was expected after more than 420,000 claims for unemployment compensation were filed between mid-March and the end of April. The unemployment rate will likely be higher for May as job cuts continued. In all, 564,000 claims for unemployment have been filed in nine weeks, three times the number the state received in all of 2019.

The state reported that 305,100 of the state's workforce of about 3 million people lost jobs during April, adding to the approximately 140,000 who were unemployed when the month began.

The state rate is well below the national unemployment rate of 14.7 percent for April, the department stated.

Missouri’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate had its largest monthly and yearly increases ever in April, the department stated.

"The rapidly changing economic situation will likely continue to evolve and be reflected in next month’s jobs report," the department stated.

Over the month, the biggest job losses were in manufacturing, which lost 46,000 jobs over the month, and services, which lost 259,100 jobs. In the public sector, local government employment was down by 11,100, and state government lost 2,600 jobs.