OPINION

Rep. Don Mayhew: Update from the Capitol

Don Mayhew

The House and Senate was on spring break this week. This is a terrific time - midway through session- for Representatives and Senators to talk to constituents back in district to reflect on what has been done and left undone.

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.

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. 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.

If I can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office at 573.751.3834 and/or via email don.mayhew@house.mo.gov.

Don Mayhew, a Republican, represents parts of Phelps, Pulaski and Crawford counties in the Missouri House of Representatives.