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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:

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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:

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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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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.


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.

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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.

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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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A new report says Missouri's jobless rate edged lower last month despite a net loss of jobs.

The state Department of Economic Development said Friday that seasonally adjusted unemployment fell by one-tenth of a point in September to 8.7 percent.

The agency also says Missouri had a net loss of 4,000 nonfarm jobs in September. The biggest losses were in retail trade, financial activities, professional and business services and government.

Jobs were added in other sectors, including health care and social assistance, which grew by 3,300 jobs.

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Reporting from KCUR's Elana Gordon used in this report.

Missouri has received a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to train more than 4,000 underemployed adults in the health services sector.  Governor Jay Nixon led the effort to bring the funds to the state’s 12 or so community colleges.  Deborah Goodall is with Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City and said the grant will help equip adults with high demand health care skills.  

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Illinois' unemployment rate shot up almost half a percentage point in August to 9.9 percent. And state officials are blaming the continuing struggles of the national economy and weak consumer confidence.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that Illinois' unemployment rate surged from 9.5 percent in July.

Part of an ongoing series.

Like some 14 million Americans, the people in our series The Road Back to Work started the year unemployed and searching for a job.

Back in January, we gave six people, all living in St. Louis, Mo., digital recorders and asked them to document their experience as they went through the process of looking for a job.

Working, Still Struggling

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This summer, fewer young people in the U.S. are employed than at any time since the government began keeping track.

On Wednesday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report that found just 48.8 percent of 16-to-24-year-olds had jobs in July.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman spoke with Michael Saltsman, a research fellow at the Employment Policies Institute, about what the numbers mean.