The current unemployment rate in Cape Girardeau is getting better, although it is not quite back to where it was prior to the pandemic. Officials with the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations recently released data that showed that Cape Girardeau County’s unemployment rate in January fell by nearly an entire percentage point from 5.2 percent in December to 4.3percent in the first month of 2021 even though there was a small increase in the number of county residents filing initial unemployment claims, 554 in January compared to 527 the month prior. In the early part of last year, Cape Girardeau County’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in January and 3.2 percent in February before it rose to 9.5 percent in April during the first full month of the COVID-19 pandemic when hundreds of local and area businesses either temporarily or permanently closed. As a result, over 5,000 local employees filed for unemployment for the very first time. By October and November of 2020, Cape Girardeau County’s unemployment rate had decreased to 3.3 percent before going upward to 5.2 percent in December.