Economy & Innovation

Economy: Unemployment benefits
5:29 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Mo.'s long-term unemployed to lose some benefits

(via Flickr/KellyB)

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.

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Business/US Fidelis
2:44 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

US Fidelis co-owner pleads guilty to federal charges

Former U.S. Fidelis owner Darain Atkinson pleaded guilty Monday to two federal counts.
(St. Charles County Dept. of Corrections)

One of two brothers who owned the auto services contract giant US Fidelis has pleaded guilty to federal charges - just four days after admitting to a series of state charges.

Darain Atkinson, 47, pleaded guilty today to one felony count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and one felony count of filing false tax returns. 

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Business/US Fidelis plea
4:30 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Former owner of US Fidelis pleads guilty to state charges

Darain Atkinson.
(St. Charles County Department of Corrections)

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.

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Trade with Brazil
5:12 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Trade with Brazil in focus for both Nixon, Quinn this month

A map showing the location of Brazil within South America, along with some of the country's major population centers.
(CIA World Factbook)

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.

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Business/Express Scripts merger
11:56 am
Mon April 2, 2012

Express Scripts-Medco merger approved

The Federal Trade Commission has approved a $29.1 billion merger between Express Scripts and Medco, which is based in New Jersey. The new company will be headquartered in St. Louis.
(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated at 4:26 p.m. to correct name of Jennifer Mallon's association. It is the National Community Pharmacists Association, not the National Association of Community Pharmacies.

Federal regulators have approved the $29.1 billion merger between pharmacy benefit managers Express Scripts and Medco.

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Doe Run
10:05 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Production to halt for weeks at fire-damaged Doe Run smelter

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The Doe Run Co. says production of primary lead at its smelter in the eastern Missouri town of Herculaneum will be suspended for four to six weeks following a fire.

The fire on March 20 occurred at the smelter's electric substation. Doe Run Primary Smelting Division general manager Gary Hughes says damage to the substation is significant.

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Illinois Unemployment Rate
12:39 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Illinois unemployment rate drops to 9.1 percent

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the state's unemployment rate dropped in February for the sixth-straight month. 

The department says the February jobless rate fell to 9.1 percent from 9.4 percent in January. That's still much higher than the national 8.3 percent rate.

Department Director Jay Rowell calls the drop a sign that the state continues its steady recovery from recession.

Illinois added 6,500 jobs in February. That's almost double the 3,800 jobs added in January.

Missouri Unemployment rate
1:45 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Missouri unemployment rate falls in Feb. to lowest mark since late 2008

(via Flickr/KellyB)

Missouri's unemployment rate fell slightly last month while the state's overall payroll increased by a couple thousand jobs.

The state Department of Economic Development reported Tuesday that Missouri's jobless rate in February dropped a tenth of a percentage point to 7.4 percent, which is its lowest mark since late 2008.

Economic development officials also say Missouri's net nonfarm payroll increased by 2,300 jobs in February.

This is the second straight month that Missouri's payrolls have expanded. More than 21,000 jobs were added last month.

 

Economy
1:43 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Illinois unemployment rate drops to 9.4 percent

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

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.

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Enterprise Rent-a-Car
1:41 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Consumer advocates press Enterprise to endorse recall legislation

Joan Bray (left) and Judi Roman (right) of the Consumers Council of Missouri meet with representatives of Enterprise Rent-a-Car at their corporate headquarters.
Joseph Leahy, St. Louis Public Radio

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.

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