An encouraging trend for Missouri’s economy has emerged. The state unemployment rate stayed steady in May, and steady is good, according to spokesman Jim Grebing with the State Economic Development Department, who notes the state rate has been well below the national unemployment rate for a while now. The state rate of 4.9 percent is nearly a full percentage point below the national rate. Mid-Missouri remains strong. The rates for St. Louis and Kansas City hover just above five percent. Some parts of rural Missouri suffer high rates as they continue to lose the small factories many towns rely on.