Hello, MBA readers,
The state of Missouri surpassed a grim milestone this week, with more than 1,000 confirmed deaths due to the coronavirus. After Kansas City enacted a face mask order to slow the spread of the virus, other local governments across the state are considering requiring masks in public spaces. The city of St. Louis and St. Louis County both announced such an order, set to take effect Friday, and Springfield officials are mulling a mask policy. Against that backdrop of increasing COVID-19 cases, Thursday brought a bit of good news for the U.S. labor market: The June jobs report topped expectations, with employers adding 4.8 million jobs for the month and unemployment dipping to 11.1%. However, those totals reflect mid-June conditions, before surging coronavirus case counts caused many states to slow or reverse their reopening plans.
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US tops June jobs projections with 4.8 million new hires
American employers added 4.8 million jobs in June as the economy began to open back up, lowering the national unemployment rate to 11.1%. Restaurants and retailers helped drive gains. (Bloomberg)
Missouri exceeds 1,000 coronavirus deaths
A sharp increase in coronavirus-related hospitalizations has followed rising numbers across the state during the past two weeks. Missouri now has 1,000 confirmed deaths from the virus, and the Kansas City area set another record for most new cases since the pandemic began, with 300 on Wednesday. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Kansas City Star)
St. Louis city, county to require face masks; Springfield considering order
Starting on Friday, people in St. Louis and St. Louis County will be required to wear face masks when in public. Springfield is also considering putting a mask order in place. (MBA, Springfield Business Journal)
Parson signs law that limits lawsuit awards
Gov. Mike Parson has signed into law a measure that requires plaintiffs to prove a company intentionally harmed them or acted in a deliberately flagrant manner. The law has been a priority for business groups in Missouri that say these lawsuits favor plaintiffs and result in excessive awards. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Largest Pizza Hut, Wendy’s franchisee files for bankruptcy
NPC International, a Kansas City-area company, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company operates more than 1,200 Pizza Huts nationally and nearly 400 Wendy’s. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Some fireworks sellers face tight supply amid trade disruptions
Trade complications involving China, the biggest supplier of fireworks, are being felt by vendors in Missouri, which imported more than $51 million of fireworks last year. (MBA)
IBM closure in Iowa will move jobs to Columbia
A majority of the roughly 350 workers that were employed at an IBM facility closing in Dubuque, Iowa, are being asked to relocate to mid-Missouri. (Columbia Missourian)
St. Louis company wins $233 million contract with CDC
St. Louis-based construction company McCarthy has won a contract to manage construction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new lab in Atlanta. Construction is expected to begin in early 2021. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)
Owner of troubled hospitals faces fraud charges
Jorge Perez, who once boasted of his ability to save struggling hospitals, was one of 10 people charged in a $1.4 billion hospital billing fraud scheme. He is accused of gaining control of rural hospitals in order to bill insurance companies for non-existent lab tests. (Kansas City Star)
State offers free online courses to unemployed Missourians
The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development has partnered with online education platform Coursera to offer free classes to people who are unemployed. (Missourinet)
Boone County health department has received no federal aid to combat COVID-19
It has been more than two months since the president approved a relief package to help local responses to the coronavirus, but Boone County health officials have not received any funds. They say confusion over allocation of funds is hampering their effort. (KBIA)
Audit alleges local officials embezzled $115,000 from Parma
The state auditor’s office said the southeast Missouri town’s former mayor and city clerk used prepaid debit cards and a city credit card to purchase gifts and expensive goods for themselves over the course of four years. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, fewer Americans plan to celebrate the Fourth of July this year. Still, 76% of respondents to an annual consumer survey said they had plans for some sort of celebration, with festivities ranging from fireworks to cookouts.
Say that again
“More people are leaving than entering the community. I’m working to try to improve the public-safety issues. We’re making progress on that, but it’s taking a long time. We needed to have a viable alternative if things don’t get better here. On a corporate and personal basis, we recognize that Charlotte has their act together.”
That’s Michael Neidorff, CEO of Centene, speaking about the company’s recent decision to expand to Charlotte, North Carolina, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The Clayton-based health insurer plans to build a $1 billion East Coast headquarters expected to add 3,200 jobs over 10 years, with the possibility of adding 6,000 more over time. Neidorff said that negative publicity St. Louis has received may serve as a deterrent to recruiting talented applicants in the future. The company sees Charlotte as a vibrant location that has shown the kind of growth that would assist in attracting new employees.
That’s the number of contactless hand sanitizer stations that will be installed before students return to St. Louis University in the fall, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. This is just one of the measures being taken to try to prevent the risk of spreading the coronavirus when students resume in-person classes. Additionally, face masks will be required in all public spaces, and plans for social distancing in common areas are being formed. This announcement comes just one day after the University of Missouri released its “Show Me Renewal” plan for returning to campus in the fall. Along with face mask requirements and sanitation stations, this plan includes isolation dorms for students who may contract the coronavirus.
Hello, my name is
The Texas-based chain has confirmed it plans to expand into the Kansas City area, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. The burger restaurant saw its profile elevated in the area after Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes tweeted his desire to see a store come to the city. This is the first franchising planned by the company in more than two decades. Company executives have said that the Kansas City market seems like a good fit for the franchise.
It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.