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Missouri extends unemployment benefits

By AP/St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation that provides up to 20 extra weeks of benefits for unemployed Missourians.

The governor signed the bill just hours after lawmakers gave it final approval yesterday. It takes effect immediately.

The legislation is intended to help Missourians who have exhausted their jobless benefits. State labor officials estimate that 4,000 people could qualify.

The bill also adds 26 weeks to a program that allows businesses to avoid layoffs by cutting employees' hours. Unemployment benefits cover the lost wages.