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Every Monday at 6:42 a.m. and 8:42 a.m., Rob Gilligan provides information on what's happening in the area of regional development in Southeast Missouri. Rob is the President and CEO of the Cape Chamber. 0000017b-d583-d84a-afff-fdd77fc70000Local support for Let's Talk Business comes from First Midwest Bank -- offering banking solutions for all stages of life. Online at onemidwest.com. Member FDIC.

Let's Talk Business: Missouri Unemployment Rate Fell in June

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There were several pieces of good news this week at a time when we can really use them.

The unemployment rate for the state of Missouri fell to 7.9% for June. That compares to a national rate of 11.1%. While the county numbers haven’t been released yet, I believe the Cape County and Scott County numbers will both reflect a similar declining pattern. While this is good news, challenges continue everywhere related to the virus.

So, the Missouri Department of Economic Development announced several new initiatives including a Small Business Grant Program with $30 Million dollars available for businesses with less than 50 employees designed to help with costs of interruption caused by required closures and COVID-19 expenses. Our www.reclaimourregion.com website has a link to the application and information.

Ameren Missouri announced a new COVID-19 relief fund to help small businesses with energy costs. They have set aside $500,000 for Missouri customers who meet eligibility requirements.

But wait, there’s more. Cape Girardeau County announced a reimbursement program using CARES Act funding. Applications will be available through the Cape Girardeau Area MAGNET and Cape County businesses can apply to be reimbursed for non-budgeted expenses directly related to COVID-19 actions. Receipts will be required. Look for the roll out of that program and application this week.

I encourage businesses and employees to take advantage of available programs, do what it takes to stay safe, and keep our local economy going.

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