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.
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.
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.
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.