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.

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State officials say unemployment in Illinois inched up to 9.5 percent in July, the third consecutive month it has increased.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says there were 24,900 fewer jobs reported last month.

Unemployment for Illinois was 9.1 percent in June. But the rate one year ago in July was 10.1 percent.

The numbers were released Thursday and are based on data from the state agency and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Unemployment in Illinois increased to 9.2 percent in June, the second straight month the state jobless rate increased.

The state Department of Employment Security on Thursday laid part of the blame on weak consumer confidence they said was hindering the national economy.

The national unemployment rate hit also 9.2 percent in June. That was up from 9.1 percent.