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.