Missouri's unemployment rate declined last month to its lowest point in more than 2 1/2 years.
The state Department of Economic Development said Tuesday that Missouri's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.5 percent in October - down two-tenths of a percentage point from September. It was the lowest mark since an 8.4 percent rate in February 2009.
Missouri's unemployment rate also was better than the national average of 9 percent in October.
Missouri voters could be asked to raise the state's minimum wage to $8.25 an hour.
A group that backed a successful wage increase in the 2006 elections is now pushing to get the minimum wage issue back on the ballot in Missouri's 2012 elections.
An open-records request from The Associated Press shows that the minimum wage initiative already has been submitted to the secretary of state's office, which must approve a ballot title before supporters can begin gathering signatures.
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?
The state of Missouri is paying tribute Thursday to State Veterinarian Dr. Taylor Woods on the opening day of the State Fair in Sedalia. Woods has served as the State Veterinarian twice, collectively serving for nearly 20 years.
During that time, he’s been credited with developing policy and procedures to combat numerous diseases that threaten Missouri’s livestock industry. Dr. Woods sat down this week with St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin and talked about just what it is that a State Veterinarian does. You can listen to their conversation above.