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.
Updated at 4:08 with comments from Attorney General Koster and Darain Atkinson's attorney.
Updated 3:58 with statement from the Better Business Bureau:
“US Fidelis left a trail of dissatisfied consumers from across the United States. Today’s guilty plea by Darain Atkinson in St. Charles County illustrates the risks of unethical business behavior and the importance of the work of groups like the Better Business Bureau in exposing the underhanded practices in our marketplace,” Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO said.
Reporting from KSMU's Jennifer Moore used in this report.
As we mentioned this morning, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon will travel to Brazil this month on a trade mission. The trip comes on the heels of the news that Missouri saw its strongest year ever for exports in 2011.
Illinois added 3,800 jobs in January, and the state unemployment rate fell for the fifth straight month to 9.4 percent.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the 0.3 percentage point drop in the unemployment rate was the largest decline since September 1992.
The agency says the number of unemployed people dropped by 18,100 in January to 620,300.
Illinois has added 122,900 private sector jobs since January 2010, the first month that numbers increased after 23 consecutive months of declines. The state unemployment rate peaked that month at 11.4 percent.
Consumer advocates are pressing Enterprise Rent-a-Car to support a bill to keep rental cars that are subject to federal recall off the road.
Joan Bray of the Consumers Council of Missouri says while the St. Louis-based company has agreed in principle, it should endorse a Congressional amendment named for two sisters who were killed while driving a PT Cruiser under recall.