Unemployment

KellyB. | Flickr

Missouri's unemployment rate dropped to its lowest point in nearly four years - good news for incumbent Jay Nixon with the election three weeks away.

The state Department of Economic Development announced this morning that the rate is 6.9 percent - down three-tenths of a point from August, and nearly three points below its recession-era peak in August of 2009.

The state says companies added 2,500 jobs in September, bringing the total number of new jobs this year to 24,700.

Nixon applauded the numbers in a statement:

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

Illinois is getting $2.7 million to strengthen its efforts to fight waste and fraud in unemployment claims.

The grant from the U.S. Labor Department will help beef up anti-fraud programs launched in the past year.
 
The Illinois Department of Employment Security says it has begun garnishing tax returns of unemployment cheats, working more closely with the attorney general and holding business leaders personally liable for misstating company obligations.

The U.S. population is growing. In normal times, the labor force — working or not — would be growing too. But these are not normal times, and the labor force is actually smaller than it was four years ago, meaning millions of people who should be there aren't.

The reasons people drop out of the workforce are myriad. People go back to school. Others have health issues or family priorities that keep them from looking for work. But some stop looking because they are discouraged.

(Chris McDaniel/Beyond November)

Illinois Congressional candidate Jason Plummer points to the uncertainty of the Metro East levee situation as a large cause of the area’s high unemployment rate. 

The Republican candidate says federal regulators are getting in the way of bipartisan work by local officials.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency alleges the area should be deemed a “hazard zone.” If that happens, the value of houses would reportedly plummet. Plummer said the number one complaint he hears is the lack of certainty.

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Illinois' unemployment rate increased again in July with the loss of thousands of government and hospitality jobs.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that the July unemployment rate hit 8.9 percent. That's up from 8.7 percent in June and was the second straight increase after nine months of steady decreases.

Department Director Jay Rowell says the increase was expected since national unemployment continues to rise. Rowell adds that declines in government employment are likely to continue.

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St. Charles County voters could face two anti-smoking ballot measures

St. Charles County voters could face not one but two ballot measures in November that would restrict smoking.

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Jobless rate drops below 8 percent in St. Louis

The jobless rate in metropolitan St. Louis is going down, and has dipped below 8 percent for the first time in more than three years.

s_falkow | Flickr

Nineteen residents of the Metro East and southern Illinois have been charged with stealing money from the state and federal unemployment insurance programs.

The 12 men and 7 women are accused of stealing a total of $368,000 in benefits. Two of those charged were incarcerated while receiving benefits, and 17 others were employed.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Missouri payrolls decline

Missouri officials say state payrolls declined by 4,000 jobs in June while unemployment simultaneously decreased 7.1 percent. Department of Economic Development officials say much of the decline in Missouri non-farm payrolls came in the local government sector, which shed 3,100 jobs in June.

The state unemployment rate has declined or held steady each month since June 2011. The jobless rate last month is the lowest in Missouri since December 2008.

KellyB. | Flickr

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says it has started checking the roll of people receiving unemployment benefits for those who might be ineligible because they're in jail.
 
Spokesman Greg Rivara says the department found 420 people receiving benefits who were behind bars sometime during the first two weeks of the review. Now the department will check to see if they might have been only briefly locked up and were still eligible or if they really weren't available to work. Availability to work is a key part of the criteria to determine unemployment eligibility.

Take a look at these charts put together by NPR's Planet Money team. Does your experience or that of your neighbors reflect the data or trends?

via Flickr/KellyB.

Unemployment continued to drop slowly across Illinois in May, partly due to job growth in manufacturing.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Thursday that unemployment fell to 8.6 percent in May. It was the ninth straight monthly decrease and was down from 8.7 percent in April.

The federal government reported earlier this month that the May national unemployment rate was 8.2 percent. That was up slightly from April's 8.1 percent.

via Flickr/KellyB.

Missouri officials say the state lost about 7,300 non-farm payroll jobs in May, even as the state's unemployment rate was unchanged from April at 7.3 percent.

The Department of Economic Development reported the figures Tuesday.

The decline in non-farm payroll jobs followed several months of increases. The 7.3 percent jobless rate is the lowest for Missouri since December 2008, and compares with the national figure of 8.2 percent in May.

(via Flickr/KellyB)

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says unemployment dropped during April in 11 of the state's 12 metro areas.

The department said Thursday the biggest decrease was in the Rockford area where unemployment decreased from 12.1 percent in April 2011 to 10.7 percent. The Kankakee-Bradley area wasn't far behind. The jobless rate there fell from 11.8 percent to 10.5 percent. Only the Metro East had an increase - a small jump from 8.3 to 8.4 percent.

Unemployment in the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville metro area decreased from 9.5 percent to 9 percent.

(via Flickr/KellyB)

Updated at 3:23 p.m. with Associated Press correction. Government hiring was not down in April.

Unemployment across Illinois dropped in April for an eighth straight month, but job growth all but stalled.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that statewide unemployment fell to 8.7 percent. That's down a tenth of a percentage point from 8.8 in March. The national jobless rate was 8.1 percent.

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Unemployment figures are out for the "Show-Me" state for April.

Missouri added about 6,000 jobs in April as its seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged down slightly.

Figures released Tuesday by the state Department of Economic Development also show that:

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Mo. General Assembly sends probation and parole reforms to Gov. Nixon

The Missouri General Assembly has sent Gov. Jay Nixon a measure that could reduce the amount of time some non-violent felons in the state spend on probation and parole.

The state Senate approved the measure yesterday 24-3, shortly after the state House did the same thing without opposition.

(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.

(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.

(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.

KellyB. | Flickr

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.

(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.

 

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

House budget writers finish reviews of Missouri's proposed spending plan for next year

Members of the budget committee now have until 4 p.m today to offer amendments, which will be debated and voted on Wednesday.   

Republican Ryan Silvey of Kansas City chairs the House Budget Committee:

(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.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Missouri's unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent while the state's overall payroll increased by thousands of jobs.

The state Department of Economic Development reported Tuesday that Missouri's net nonfarm payroll increased by 21,100 jobs in January. Officials reported that Missouri had a net of loss of 11,800 jobs in December and a loss of 3,300 jobs in November.

Besides expanding payrolls for the first time in three months, Missouri's unemployment rate in January dropped by half a point to 7.5 percent. That is Missouri's lowest jobless rate since November 2008.

Part of an ongoing series

Zumba is a fitness craze; a high-energy dance and exercise program. You can find it in high-end gyms and even the community center in Hazelwood, Mo., where Casaundra Bronner, 40, lives.

Flickr/KDavidClark

Mo. lawmakers considering I-70 toll proposals

Missouri Department of Transportation Director Kevin Keith told a panel of lawmakers Tuesday that changes to the interstate, such as widening it to six lanes, could create construction jobs and make the state more economically competitive. Keith said such improvements could cost as much as $4 billion.

Private companies would finance the project up front and collect tolls on I-70 between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is pushing his jobs creation strategy as the path to improving the state's economy this year.

Speaking at Jost Chemical Co. in St. Louis Friday, Nixon detailed his multi-pronged proposal which includes opening state export offices in Asia and South America and funding training for high-tech jobs.

"We'll work to make sure we attract next-generation automotive suppliers to Missouri," said Nixon.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

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.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Unemployment in Illinois rose in September for a fifth straight month and hit 10 percent for the first time since August 2010.

The state Department of Employment Security on Thursday blamed continued weakness in consumer confidence across the country for the increase. The federal government earlier this month said national unemployment for September was 9.1 percent. That was unchanged from August. The state rate was 9.9 percent in August.

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