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Missouri unemployment, student loan default rates up

By Rachel Lippmann

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri's unemployment rate ticked up again last month but remains below the national average.

The state's seasonally adjusted rate in August was 9.5 percent, up two-tenths of a point from July. Nationally, unemployment reached 9.7 percent last month.

Employment decreased in every sector of Missouri's economy expect health care and local government, which was boosted by an early beginning to the school year.

The ongoing economic slump has also forced more college students in Missouri to default on their loans.

The data from the state's Department of Higher Education say more than six percent of the 80,000 borrowers have stopped making payments. The rate was 4.3 percent last year. The loans were issued between October 1, 2006 and September 30, 2007; borrowers defaulted before September 30, 2008.

The department's assistant commissioner said default rates will go higher.