Missouri's 7.4 percent jobless rate is the lowest it's been in more than three years - but that's bad news for about 9,000 of the state's 112,000 people receiving unemployment benefits.
State lawmakers last year outlasted a determined filibuster by Republican Senator Jim Lembke to approve an additional 20 weeks in benefits - funded entirely by the federal government - for Missouri residents who had been out of work for 79 weeks, or more than a year and a half.
Missouri companies exported $14.1 billion worth of goods and services last year, according to new data from the World Trade Center St. Louis and the World Institute for Strategic Economic Research.
That's a record level of exports, officials say - $500 million higher than the previous record, which was set in 2007. The state's biggest customers were Canada, Mexico and China, with China's consumption of goods like copper scrap, fan parts, and semiconductor devices growing another 18 percent in 2011.
Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum brought a small-government, family-centered message to St. Charles on Monday - marking the first appearance by a Republican presidential candidate in the state this election cycle.
A crowd of 300 packed into an auditorium that at the St. Charles Community College campus in Cottleville that's meant for 270. Hundreds more could not get seats and waited for the candidate outside.
Santorum says as president, he'll focus on making sure that government takes actions that make it easier for American companies to compete globally.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed suit against ratings agency Standard and Poor's for fraudulently assigning high ratings to mortgage-backed investments despite their risk.
The suit filed today in Cook County - the state's largest - argues that instead of independently evaluating mortgage-backed securities, S&P gave them higher ratings than warranted to benefit investment bank clients and the agency's bottom line.
Updated 2:46 p.m. with additional contextual information
A newly released report shows that nearly 15 percent of people in Missouri are poor.
The Census Bureau's annual report released Tuesday offers a snapshot of the economic well-being of U.S. households for 2010, when joblessness hovered above 9 percent for a second year.
Nationally, nearly 1 in 6 people were classified as poor.
Meanwhile, the share of Americans without health coverage rose from 16.1 percent to 16.3 percent - or 49.9 million people - after the Census Bureau made revisions to numbers of the uninsured. That is due mostly to continued losses of employer-provided health insurance in the weakened economy.
In Missouri, 14 percent of residents lacked insurance.
But how does today's data compare with the numbers in years prior?
For St. Louisans, there is one nugget of good news amidst the plunging Dow and struggling economy: gas prices are falling steeply in the St. Louis area.
Experts say the price of a barrel of oil dropped after Standard & Poor's lowered the nation's credit rating by one notch last week.
The price of gas fell below $3.20 per gallon at many stations in the St. Louis area on Monday. Just a little over a week ago, drivers shelled out more than $3.60 for a gallon of regular unleaded at some stores.