Economy & Innovation

Fortune 500 St. Louis companies
1:15 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

St. Louis lands nine on new Fortune 500 list

Express Scripts headquarters in St. Louis.
(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The new Fortune 500 list has been released. Fortune Magazine has released its annual ranking of the top U.S. companies by revenue Monday.

Last year, St. Louis had ten companies on the list. It’s down to nine this year, as Smurfit Stone Container dropped off because it was purchased by Rock-Tenn in 2011. The companies are:

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Arch Grants
11:12 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Arch Grants announces 15 recipients of $50K startup grants

Arch Grants Executive Director, Sarah Spear, and CEO, Jerry Schlicter, announced the 15 winners of the program's global business plan competition Monday..
Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

Fifteen start-up companies are getting a boost from St. Louis business accelerator Arch Grants. The winners of Arch Grant’s global business plan competition will each receive $50,000 to help them get started in the city.

Arch Grants co-founder and president Jerry Schlichter says the recipients were selected from more than 400 applicants.

“Arch Grants will be working hard to make these entrepreneurs a success," he said.  "And, we’re going to be working equally hard to try to continue to build Arch Grants to make it a true game-changing program for St. Louis."

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Unemployment Rate
12:41 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Ill. unemployment drops below 9 percent in March

(via Flickr/KellyB)

Illinois' unemployment rate fell below 9 percent in March in what continues to be a slow, sometimes unsteady recovery from recession.

The state Department of Employment Security said Thursday that unemployment fell to 8.8 percent in March. It was the first time the jobless rate was below 9 percent since February 2009 and the seventh straight decrease. February unemployment in Illinois was 9.1 percent.

Illinois unemployment still remains higher that the nation as a whole. The U.S. rate in March was 8.2 percent.

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Unemployment Rate
11:22 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Mo. adds jobs as unemployment rate remains steady

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Missouri added about 4,800 jobs in March as its unemployment rate remained steady.

Figures released Tuesday by the state Department of Economic Development show that Missouri's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in March - the same level as in February. That remained below the national unemployment rate of 8.2 percent in March.

Metro fares
5:00 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Hearings this week on Metro fare hike

Hearings will be held his week on proposed fare increases for Metro
(St. Louis Public Radio photo)

Residents can weigh in starting today on proposed fare increases for mass transit in St. Louis. The Metro transit agency is considering three options for raising fares this year – one would increase only the costs of weekly, monthly and university semester passes; the second would raise the cost of all passes except day passes; and the third would spread the increase to all fares, including buses and Metrolink. 

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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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