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Missouri’s Unemployment Rate Continues To Fall, Parson Highlights His Recovery Plan

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said at a press briefing on Wednesday that Missouri was in the top ten states with the lowest unemployment rates in the country.
Jaclyn Driscoll
St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said at a press briefing on Wednesday that Missouri is among the 10 states with the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

In addition to announcing FDA approval for a new saliva coronavirus test developed at Washington University, Gov. Mike Parson said Wednesday that economic recovery in Missouri is in full swing.

“Missouri’s unemployment rate dropped again,” Parson said at a press briefing. “From 7.8 in June to 6.9% in July. With employment increasing by over 52,000 jobs.”

For July, the national unemployment rate was 10.2%. Parson said Missouri is in the 10 states with the lowest unemployment rate.

According to the Missouri Department of Labor, there were 80,892 initial unemployment claims filed for June, the most up-to-date information included on its website.

“Already we have recovered nearly half of the jobs lost to COVID-19,” Parson said. “Missouri’s economy is recovering. We are on the right track.”

Missouri received more than $200 million in the latest round of federal funding authorized by President Donald Trump. Parson says the Department of Labor will begin releasing that money this week for those who qualify.

As of Wednesday, there were 1,426 new coronavirus cases and 10 deaths in the past 24 hours. The seven-day percent positive reached 12.2%, and Parson recognized the state continues to see an increase in cases.

“Especially among 20-year-olds as many return to college,” Parson said. “However the vast majority of these cases are not being hospitalized.”

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday it was changing testing guidelines for those exposed to the coronavirus. The new guidance on its site no longer suggests that everyone exposed to the virus, through close contact with someone that was infected, should get tested regardless of symptoms.

Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said he’s been working to understand the new guidelines.

“It’s unclear why they’ve made that recommendation,” Williams said. “That’s not the path that I would set out on.”

He said unless there are any significant changes, this will “not be the direction” he will recommend. Williams said anyone who wants to get tested is still able to get a test in Missouri.

Jaclyn is the Jefferson City statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.

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