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Missouri Unemployment Drops in 2003

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – Missouri is making progress in restoring jobs lost during the 2001 recession.

Seasonally adjusted figures from the U.S. Department of Labor released Tuesday show statewide unemployment dropped half a percentage point during 2003, from 5.5 percent to 5.0 percent.

Jim Grebing, with Missouri's Department of Economic Development, said the state is keeping pace with its neighbors.

"I think the good news for Missouri is that between January and December of 2003, we've added over 27,000 jobs in the state," Grebing said. "That ranks us comparable to or ahead of all the eight states that border Missouri."

Despite the gains, a report from the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank, shows many of Missouri's new jobs are in lower-paying industries.

The largest employment increases in the country occurred in Illinois, which added more than 16,000 jobs in November and December.

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