Missouri officials want to continue unemployment benefits despite the rate returning to pre-pandemic levels

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri officials want to continue to have a private company handle calls about jobless benefits in the state — even though the unemployment rate has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is asking companies to bid on a contract to run a call center that would help officials process unemployment claims. A california company has been handling those duties since October of 2020 — and has been paid $18 million.

The unemployment rate reached as high as 12.5% in April of 2020. Currently, it’s down to 3.7% — which is equal to the rate in March of 2020, before the pandemic began.

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