This past week was spring break for the legislators, and while it was nice being back home for a week, I am looking forward to getting back. See below for a couple of things happening in Missouri.
As always don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions or concerns. I thank you for your support and am honored to be your representative in Jefferson City.
Missouri’s Unemployment Rate Continues to Drop
Missouri continues to see signs of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest unemployment figures for the state show another drop as the state moves closer to its pre-COVID unemployment rate.
The state’s latest unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent in February from 4.3 percent in January. While the February 2021 rate was 0.6 percentage points higher than the unemployment rate in February of last year, the state rate continues to be significantly below the national rate of 6.2 percent.
Missouri was at an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent in March 2020, but the number spiked to 12.5 percent in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state has since seen a steady decrease in the unemployment rate as it moves closer to the previous level. The state rate of unemployment has remained significantly below the national rate throughout the last year.
Even with the reduction in unemployment, the state has still seen a loss in total number of jobs. The over-the-year job losses totaled 130,500. However, experts are optimistic Missouri’s job figure will show improvement in the coming months as COVID-19 vaccines become more available.
Encouraging Missourians to Volunteer
Missourians in search of volunteer opportunities have a new resource they can utilize. The Missouri Community Service Commission (MCSC) recently launched a new website that features information on community service opportunities, volunteer spotlights, and background information about MCSC’s programs. The website is available now at ShowMeService.org.
The executive director of MCSC said, “Our new website is an important part of fostering community service and volunteerism in Missouri. We want to make it easy for every Missourian to find a way to help others, and this website is just the beginning.”
ShowMeService.org allows users to search for hundreds of in-person and virtual volunteer opportunities. Organizations can also add needs to an ongoing list of service projects. The website will also feature volunteer stories each week through a new Volunteer of the Week program. Volunteers can be nominated on the site, and if recognized, their stories are shared statewide. Each year, more than 1.5 million Missourians volunteer in their communities. MCSC will use their website to highlight this work and encourage more citizens to serve others.
State Treasurer Launches New Site to Track Federal COVID-19 Funds
The state treasurer’s office recently launched a new transparency portal that will allow Missourians to keep track of federal funds related to COVID-19. The new portal is an expansion of the CARES Act Funds Portal and will include information related to the American Rescue Plan Act and subsequent funding.
State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick said, “The CARES Act Funds Portal has been a useful resource for Missourians seeking information about pandemic-related expenditures — and also for our local government leaders. I hope this expanded portal will continue to serve as a go-to resource for information about federal funding as well as how state government is using its funds to serve Missourians.”
Visitors to the portal will find the full text of the legislation, a breakdown of funding allocations by state, county and municipality, as well as other information. As more resources become available, they will be added to the website. The Federal COVID-19 Related Funds Transparency Portal can be found at https://treasurer.mo.gov/COVID.