Parson boasts economic recovery as Missouri's COVID-19 cases surpass 30,000
JEFFERSON CITY (Missourian) - Missouri’s unemployment rate dropped by 2 percentage points in June, a statistic that Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday demonstrates the state’s economy is recovering.
At the same time, Missouri has recorded over 30,000 cases of COVID-19.
After weeks of lockdown put thousands of Missourians out of work, unemployment climbed to a staggering 10.2% in April and 10.1% in May. The number now sits at 7.9%, according to the Department of Economic Development.
Initial unemployment claims in Missouri fell to 16,781 last week, the lowest since March 21, according to the Department of Labor. The decreasing numbers come a week after work search requirements were reinstated for unemployment benefits.
“We are very encouraged by these numbers,” Parson said, “and we will continue to do everything we can to rebuild our economy and help Missouri families, businesses and communities recover from this crisis.”
The Department of Economic Development launched a handful of funding programs intended to support economic recovery in recent weeks, funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. This includes $20 million for rural broadband investment, a $30 million grant program for small businesses and a $20 million grant program to increase the production of personal protective equipment for Missouri businesses to use.
In addition, Parson announced another grant program Thursday of up to $15 million for Missouri’s tourism industry, which has also suffered during the coronavirus pandemic as people travel less.
“When the COVID-19 health emergency hit Missouri, the tourism and hospitality industry nearly shut down completely,” Economic Development Director Rob Dixon said. “This funding will help our tourism industry make our state’s many attractions and activities safer, and reinforce messaging to encourage visitors to come to Missouri and safely enjoy all there is to see and do here.”
The money will be granted to organizations that promote Missouri’s tourism attractions and can be used for payroll relief, reimbursement for safety equipment and marketing campaigns that focus on safe travel.
Read the full story at our partners, Columbia Missourian.