Employees fired for missing work and for disobeying company rules could have a harder time claiming unemployment benefits.
East St. Louis had the highest unemployment rate, 16.6 percent, up from 15.8 percent in February of 2012.
Missouri’s unemployment rate inched up slightly in February although the state also posted gains in the number of jobs.
Melinda Costa, the general manager at Travelogde in Springfield, hires ex-offenders and says something must be done to help them.
The jobless rate dropped or was flat in five areas, including Illinois’ St. Louis suburbs.
The declines were partly offset by gains of 900 jobs in financial services and 400 in construction.
People fired for sleeping on the job and missing work could have a harder time getting unemployment benefits under a bill endorsed by the Missouri Senate.
The Labor Department says the unemployment rate stayed at 7.8 percent last month. November’s rate was revised higher from an initially reported 7.7 percent.
The economy will remain sluggish and hiring slow in nine Midwest and Plains states over the next few months, according to a monthly survey of business leaders released Wednesday.
“What we’re seeing now is in the last couple months the Missouri labor force is starting to grow once again,” a Department of Economic Development spokesman said.
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