JEFFERSON CITY — The state is reopening a St. Louis unemployment office to try to clear a backlog of applications for jobless benefits.
The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations had closed the office last August, citing a decline in federal funding.
Since then, the economy has worsened, the unemployment rate has risen and department's administration has changed under Gov. Jay Nixon.
Division of Employment Security Director Gracia Backer says routine claims for unemployment benefits are being processed in 14 days. But claims that have issues or are protested by employers are taking six to eight weeks.
Backer says the St. Louis office will focus on clearing those cases. The office is to open Feb. 23 with 35 of the 63 employees that used to work there.