(via Flickr/Georgia National Guard)

New jobs await veterans and their spouses Tuesday. Over one hundred employers will meet with veterans and their spouses during a job fair at America’s Center

in downtown St. Louis.

The fair is a part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s small business conference for veterans, which lasts until Thursday.

The Hiring Our Heroes fair begins with an 8 a.m. workshop for mentoring, interview skills, resume help, and job search techniques.

via Flickr/KellyB.

The unemployment rate in the St. Louis area remained slightly below the national average in May, but a local economics professor says the story behind that number isn’t good news.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the non-adjusted data today. That means it does not take into account predictable seasonal changes.

The 7 percent unemployment rate for the St. Louis area is an improvement from May 2012, and far below the peak unemployment rate of 10.4 percent in 2009.

via Flickr/KellyB.

Missouri’s unemployment rate is now at its lowest point in four years.

November’s jobless rate is at 6.7 percent, down from 6.9 percent in October.  At the same time, though, the state lost 6,800 non-farm jobs last month.  John Fougere is with the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

“There’ll be blips from time to time, but we never focus on any one month of data when it comes to the number of jobs gained or lost, but instead the overall trend," Fougere said.  "Right now the overall trend of Missouri’s economy appears to be positive.”

NPR's Planet Money team comes through again with a visual breakdown of the jobs numbers. Explore it all via the link.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Illinois' unemployment rate dipped to 8.8 percent in September.

That's down from a rate of 9.1 percent in August. And the Illinois Department of Employment Security says the seasonally adjusted figures reported Thursday show Illinois' unemployment rate has fallen 10 times in the past 13 months.

IDES says Illinois added 13,800 jobs in September, and Director Jay Rowell calls the news "encouraging because it reinforces the trend of continued job growth."

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.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

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.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

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.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

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.

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

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.