First-time claims for unemployment benefits rises unexpectedly

New claims for unemployment benefits rose by 8,000 last week, the fourth rise in the past five weeks. The figure is the highest it has been in two months, and many employers have plans to make more lay-offs.

UPDATE: Columbia's cost of living beats national average

Columbia's cost of living is 8.9 percent below the national average, making it one of the least expensive places to live, Chamber of Commerce says.

Grants announced for development of high-speed rail connecting the Midwest

The Obama administration has announced a grant of $1.1 billion for the development of a high-speed rail for faster travel between Chicago and St. Louis. Another grant of $31 million will fund upgrades for rail travel between St. Louis and Kansas City. The project is expected to improve service and create jobs.

Columbia's cost of living below national average

Columbia's cost of living is 8.9 percent below the national average, according to the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association.

Live Nation, Ticketmaster merge after approval

The deal, which was approved by the U.S. Justice Department as well as Canadian regulators and 17 state attorneys general, must still be approved by a U.S. federal court before it is official.

Nixon defends state job cuts during Columbia visit

Gov. Jay Nixon stopped in Columbia to reiterate his plan for creating jobs in Missouri a day after delivering his State of the State address.

Post-Dispatch publisher Lee Enterprises sees profit, improving ad trend

For the most recent quarter, Lee said it earned $27.9 million, or 62 cents per share. It lost $48.7 million, or $1.10 per share, a year earlier.

Local artists paint barrels for water conservation awareness

Missouri River Communities Network recently chose local artists for the second annual Rain Barrel Art Review, which will be held on March 19. Artists will paint water conservation themed designs on rain barrels that will be displayed in downtown Columbia. The top three designs are going to be auctioned off.

Applications for Salvation Army bell ringers increase because of economy

Over 200 people in mid-Missouri applied to be bell ringers for the Salvation Army this season, which Maj. Kendall Matthews, regional coordinator for the Salvation Army attributes to the slow economy.

Black Friday shoppers cold but satisfied

Temperatures hovered right around freezing for shoppers who stayed up all night to be first in line for discounts.

Couple begins business to help seniors downsize, relocate

Mickey and Ralph Havener had plenty of experience helping seniors make the transition to smaller living spaces when they decided to open their business.

Bankruptcy filings up by 23 percent in Missouri

The increase in filings means the state ranks 14th in the nation for the number of filings per capita.

President to plead U.S. case at global warming summit

Obama is expected to pledge a 17 percent cut in the nation's emissions. The Congressional Budget Office estimates a $173-per-year cost increase for a family of four.

Unemployment more harmful now compared to 1982

Unemployment rates have exceeded 10 percent for the first time since the early 1980s. However, people spend more time looking for new jobs, they have more debt and they save less money than they did in the '80s.

Stocks jump after G-20 pledge to aid economies

Prices for oil and gold also rose during trading Monday, buoyed by a weakened U.S. dollar.

Columbia Farmers' Market gets some $57,000 from USDA

The grant is intended to assist in encouraging participation in the federal Food Stamp Program. Caroline Todd, the market's manager, said the money will help launch a campaign to advocate the market’s ability to accept Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, which act as debit cards for food stamp benefits.

Retail sales fall 1.5 percent as clunker cash wears off

Retail sales declined 1.5 percent in September, better than the predicted 2.1 percent decline but still worse than any drop since December. Much of the drop can be explained by a 10.4 percent plunge in auto sales once the Cash for Clunkers program ended.

ANALYSIS: Recession's end could mean beginning of states' budget woes

States may face a tougher time rebounding from this recession as employment and consumer spending are expected to grow back at a slower rate.

Survey: Economy shows recovery in Midwest, Plains

According to a survey conducted by Creighton University, the Business Conditions Index for the mid-America region increased in the past month. The survey offers some good jobs news because the employment index was in positive territory for the first time since March 2008.

Census: Recession had sweeping impact on US life

New Census data on the social impact of the recession shows a dramatic effect on the work and travel habits of Americans.