Missouri Minute: MU revises testing procedures; CDC tells states to prepare for vaccine by November

Good morning, MBA readers,

The national unemployment rate decreased sharply in August as the labor market continued to recover from coronavirus-related job losses. U.S. unemployment for the month was 8.4%, down from 10.2% in July, as employers added 1.4 million jobs. Still, the jobless rate was more than double its February level of 3.5%. Moving from labor data to Labor Day, many people are seeking a socially distant getaway for the holiday weekend. In the midst of the pandemic, some recreational vehicle dealers are seeing record sales, and the RV rental market is booming. But for those planning to enjoy a cold beverage or two over the weekend, bottles may be a better bet than cans. Aluminum shortages are cropping up due to less recycling and more consumption of canned beverages during the pandemic, and some local retailers and breweries are struggling to keep up with demand for cans.

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August unemployment drops to 8.4% despite hiring slowdown
U.S. unemployment fell to 8.4% in August from 10.2% in July, but employers added fewer jobs than they did from May through July. In weekly unemployment, more than 10,400 Missourians filed initial claims last week, up about 13% from the week before, but the four-week average continued on a downward path. (Associated PressMBA)

MU revises testing procedures amid high demand
After demand for COVID-19 tests led to delays at a drive-thru testing site, the University of Missouri now requires a physician’s referral before students can be tested. Close to 700 students have tested positive since Aug. 19, university officials say. (Columbia Missourian)

CDC tells states to prepare for vaccine by November
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told health officials in all 50 states to prepare to distribute a vaccine by late October or early November. A vaccine could be available to health care workers and other high-risk groups before clinical trials are completed, if results are positive. (Associated Press)

Aluminum can shortage hits local stores, breweries
St. Louis-area businesses like supermarket chain Schnucks and craft brewery 4 Hands have struggled to fill supply because of a coronavirus-driven can shortage. Brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, which has its own can manufacturer, has been less affected, saying it planned for an increase in demand. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis RV market remains strong
For those renting or selling recreational vehicles, demand is strong as fewer in-person obligations require people to stay in one place. Several St. Louis locals say RVs are selling or renting out much quicker than usual. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Danforth Center scientist to lead federally sponsored institute
Todd Mockler, a researcher at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and co-founder of the agtech startup Benson Hill, will co-lead a team of researchers at the AI Institute for Future Agricultural Resilience, Management and Sustainability. The institute has been awarded $20 million federal grant to research artificial intelligence in agriculture. (St. Louis Business Journal)

St. Louis ag firm patents treatment for citrus disease
St. Louis agricultural research firm Elemental Enzymes, which was founded in Columbia, has patented Vismax, a treatment for the citrus greening disease that affects orange groves in Florida and other parts of the country. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

VMLY&R names new chief integration officer
The Kansas City-based digital agency says Myron King will help clients design inclusive and diverse practices. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Caravan Health names chief medical officer
The Kansas City-based company, which offers training and technology to health systems and providers, has named Dr. Ashok Roy to the executive role. He previously worked as chief medical officer at Lumeris. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Say that again

“If you want our economy to continue to recover, then we all need to take personal responsibility. It really is on all of us.”

That’s Joe Reardon, president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, speaking about the importance of adhering to guidelines for preventing COVID-19, KCUR reports. Kansas City recently reported that, on average, 90 people were being hospitalized per day in the metro area. Officials have warned that the area is on the verge of an uncontrollable spread of the coronavirus, and they urged residents to adhere to all safety precautions. Recently, the White House issued a report that placed Missouri in the coronavirus “red zone,” meaning that there are more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people, according to CNN. The report recommends a statewide mask mandate to curb virus transmission, and it makes blunt recommendations concerning some businesses. “Bars must be closed,” it says.

Go figure

$8.5 million

That is the amount awarded to Danielle McGaughy in a discrimination lawsuit against Laclede Gas, now known as Spire. After an appeals court upheld a lower court’s decision in favor of McGaughy, the Missouri Supreme Court this week denied another appeal. McGaughy filed suit in 2016, alleging workplace discrimination and a toxic work environment when she was the only Black employee at one of the utility company’s offices.

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The law firm Armstrong Teasdale welcomed seven attorneys and 13 staff members to its St. Louis and Kansas City offices, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. The employees formerly worked for Martin Leigh, a Kansas City-based law firm that closed at the end of August after three decades in business. Armstrong Teasdale says the new employees bring expertise in a variety of areas, including creditors rights, bankruptcy, real estate and commercial and business litigation. Four of the Martin Leigh attorneys are now partners with St. Louis-based Armstrong Teasdale.

Hello, my name is

Grind + Growth

This St. Louis-based nonprofit, which focuses on increasing business ownership and improving financial literacy among minority groups, opened a co-working space and business incubator this week, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. By offering resources and financial education, Rise + Grind aims to provide minority entrepreneurs what they need to succeed in business. The nonprofit plans to offer credit repair services, micro-loans and a notary in the new space. Access will be available through a membership, which will begin at $100 a month.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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