Missouri Economic Overview
Manufacturing is the most important industry to Missouri's economy, with the important products being aerospace and transportation equipment, food products, chemicals, printing and publishing, fabricated metals, and electrical equipment. The two most important commercial centers in the state are Kansas City and St. Louis. St Louis is a base for metal and chemical manufacturing. Kansas City has long been associated with livestock and wheat but is now a strong producer of vending machines, cars, and trucks as well.
Coal, lead, zinc, cement, and stone are also produced. The state’s 100,000 farms yield soybeans, corn, wheat, and dairy products and raise cattle and hogs. The resorts and tourist attractions in the Ozark Mountain region further boost state income. Per capital personal income in Missouri is nearly $34,400, and the annual gross state product (GSP) is $237.8 billion.
In the mid 1700s, St. Genevieve, the state’s first permanent settlement, was exporting lead, salt, pork, furs, feathers, flour, and grain. Trade was slow until the steamboat era arrived in 1819 and settlement rapidly expanded. Missouri's central location and river access helped it build a strong commercial base.
As railroads developed during the 19th century, so did commerce. The river-based economies began to dry up and were replaced by flour and grist mills, breweries and whiskey distilleries, and meat packing plants. Lead mining and tobacco became profitable as well. The Louisiana Purchase Exposition held in 1904 boosted the economy and industry continued to grow.
The state’s economy was hit hard during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when many farms lost their value and banks failed. Following World War II, St. Louis and Kansas City became important transportation centers and Missouri became the second largest producer of automobiles in the U.S. Today’s economy is centered on transportation equipment, printing and publishing, chemicals, and electrical equipment.
Missouri’s 100,000 farms are spread out over almost 30 million acres and produce income from agriculture worth some $7.5 billion ($4 billion from livestock, poultry, and their products, and $3.5 billion from crops). Grain sorghum production, ranked fourth in the nation, brings in $38 million, cotton brings in $118.6 million, and rice production accounts for $39 million. Other important crops are tobacco, oats, rye, apples, peaches, grapes, watermelons, and various seed crops. Forest products, such as railroad ties, hardwood veneer, lumber, and red cedar novelties, add more than $4.3 billion to the economy.
BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES
Missouri is the only state in the nation to have two Federal Reserve Banks, located in the financial centers of Kansas City and St. Louis. The finance industry employs about 136,000 workers with annual wages of some $7.5 billion. Banks alone generate around $650 million in revenue and employ approximately 18,400 workers. Prominent commercial banks in Missouri include U.S. Bank, Bank of America, and Commerce Bank.
Missouri has a wide-reaching and modern communications network. There are 457 radio stations and over 90 television stations in the state, which produce some $7 million in revenues. There are about 25,200 workers in the telecommunications field, which generates annual revenue of some $20 million. Cable television services generate revenue of approximately $3.2 million, and Internet service providers add roughly $3.9 million to the state economy.
Missouri's construction industry suffered during the recent world economic crisis, losing many jobs and state construction projects. The industry now employs some 120,700 workers. Direct construction spending contributes $28 billion to the GSP. Nonresidential construction spending in Missouri totals about $12 billion. Salaries for construction workers add almost $6 billion to the economy. Some 90 percent of Missouri construction firms are small businesses employing fewer than 20 workers. Direct and indirect work associated with nonresidential construction spending supports 244,000 jobs.
Nearly 350,000 students are enrolled in Missouri’s 200 colleges and universities. There are more than 5,000 elementary schools and high schools, including both private and public institutions. The state’s more than 160,000 teachers earn an average of $43,000 per year.
The state's largest school district, which is in St. Louis, generates revenue of $480 million, with a student population of some 40,900 and 3,100 teachers. The city pays its teachers a total of about $147 million a year. Kansas City, the second largest school district, brings in revenue of approximately $394 million and pays $134 million in salaries to teachers. Prominent institutions of higher learning are the University of Missouri-Columbia, Missouri State University, and Saint Louis University.
The dominant fuel for electricity generation in Missouri is coal. Although Missouri was the first state west of the Mississippi River to produce coal commercially, today only two coal mines remain in operation and 84 percent of the coal used for electricity production is imported from nearby states. Missouri has a single nuclear power plant in Fulton that supplies much of Missouri’s non-coal-generated electricity. Missourians spend about $3,000 per person each year on natural gas for heating, fuel for cars and trucks, and electricity. Revenue from retail sales of electricity is some $5.6 billion. More than 20,000 workers are employed in energy production.
The media industry in Missouri is comprised of businesses predominantly involved in the production of motion pictures, commercial video, Internet publishing and broadcasting, television, subscription programming, and advertising. Filmmakers are attracted to Missouri by an incentive policy. Since 1999, when the incentive was initiated, filmmakers have chosen Missouri as the location for filming 122 movies. The film industry generates some $1.63 billion of the GSP, $809 million in total personal income, and adds $66 million to Missouri’s general revenue fund. The industry provides 17,472 jobs with an average wage of $42,811.
The thriving insurance industry in Missouri provides jobs that fuel the capital markets, enhance financial security, and generate income through payment of claims. The 400,000 licensed insurance professionals cover every type of insurance, and revenue from taxes collected on premiums in every insurance sector amounts to approximately $193 million. Life insurance policies issued in Missouri are valued at around $365 billion, with annual premiums amounting to more than $9 billion.
Manufacturing is a key sector in Missouri, employing more than 300,000 workers and paying more than $14.9 billion in salaries. The largest industry is the production of transportation equipment, which each year exports around $5 billion worth of airplanes, barges, railroad cars, trucks, and buses. The second largest manufactured export is chemicals, amounting to nearly $2 billion annually. Other exports are machinery, and electrical equipment, appliances, and components.
Food products amount to about $720 million in exports and include such items as pet foods, malt beverages, pasta, poultry, dairy products, roasted coffee, and cereals. Some of the prominent food companies with Missouri locations are Anheuser-Busch, ConAgra Foods, Kraft, Purina, and Tyson. Large chemical companies producing pesticides and fertilizers for export include Monsanto and Bayer Corporation.
MINING AND EXTRACTION
Missouri accounts for an estimated 3.2 percent of the nonfuel mineral production in the nation. Leading products are crushed stone, portland cement, lead, and lime, with Missouri producing more than half of the nation’s lead output. Other crude materials mined are fire clay, zinc, coal, gravel, barite, copper, silver, and iron. Missouri is also a producer of crude oil, amounting to around 92,000 barrels annually with a value of $4.2 million in sales.
The varied mining industry in Missouri generates annual revenue of around $8.5 billion. The mines pay taxes of $68 billion and another $227 million in transportation fees throughout the state, including truck, barge, and rail. Salaries paid to the 5,200 mining workers are nearly $400 million.
Nonprofits in Missouri account for more than 12 percent of the state’s economic output. The nearly 7,500 nonprofit organizations accumulate annual revenue of $26.3 billion. About one-third of Missouri nonprofits are in human services. Health charities account for almost two-thirds of all state nonprofit revenue. Missouri’s nearly 1,200 independent foundations give out some $357 million each year. The nonprofit arts and culture organizations provide jobs for more than 5,300 workers and bring in $9.3 million in local and state government revenue.
Missouri’s retail trade industry generates more than $45 billion in revenue. Automotive sales account for $2.3 billion in annual sales and apparel sales amount to $1.7 billion. Other major retail industries are building materials ($2.5 billion), eating and drinking establishments ($7.7 billion), food retail sales ($7.6 billion), and furniture ($4.5 billion). The retail industry employs in excess of 316,000 workers who earn annual wages of some $7.5 billion.
Missouri’s expanding technology industry is a boon to the state’s economy as it creates jobs, and strengthens both high-tech industries and research. The information technology industry’s 6,147 firms employ around 95,000 workers, representing annual wages of $6.8 billion.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers are an important source of jobs and international exports and are represented by such leading companies as Pfizer Incorporated, Covidien, and Sanofi-Aventis. Agricultural chemical manufacturing is a key growth industry, represented by Monsanto and Bayer Corporation. Biological product manufacturers and organic chemical manufacturers, such as Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, represent the fastest growing sectors in this area.
Other large life sciences employers and exporters include biological research, medical research, and medical laboratory services companies. The life sciences industry’s 1,063 firms generate wages of more than $2 billion. In addition, Kansas City is home to one-third of the $15.2 billion global animal health industry. The Missouri Botanical Garden, located in St. Louis, is a major center for botanical research and science education and generates revenue of about $40 million, attracting about one million visitors annually.
Two of the nation's three busiest rail centers are located in Missouri. Kansas City is the second largest freight rail center in the U.S., and both St. Louis and Kansas City are hubs of rail, truck, and airline transportation. Missouri has eight commercial airports served by 19 airlines. The two main commercial airports are Lambert-St. Louis International and Kansas City International. The state transports more than 160,000 tons of cargo by air annually.
The aviation industry employs about 16,000 people in Missouri. An estimated 3.42 million visitors arrive through Kansas City International Airport, resulting in direct financial impact of $1.1 billion. Annual earnings of the airport’s 5,845 workers amount to more than $3 million. The Lambert-St. Louis International Airport complex employs over 15,000 people and has an annual impact of $5.1 billion.
The Missouri and Mississippi rivers directly connect 21 states. Missouri’s extensive highways, combined with the river network, make the state a prime location for the transportation of cargo. A total of 214 ports are located along Missouri’s waterways. Total annual statewide shipments are valued at approximately $2 billion.
TRAVEL AND TOURISM
Many of the popular sites in Missouri are based on Mark Twain’s stories about life in Hannibal. The Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Churchill Memorial in Fulton, and Harry S. Truman Library in Independence are some of Missouri’s historical and tourist sites that host about 35.6 million domestic travelers every year. Total travel revenue is about $5.5 billion and the industry supports more than 192,150 jobs. St Louis’s Gateway Arch and Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza are also popular tourist sites.
Branson receives visitors from around the world. They come for the area’s attractions, lake resorts, and music shows. The city contains some 61,000 seats in 50 theaters that host top performers from around the nation. Nearby is Silver Dollar City, a popular theme park depicting life around the turn of the 20th century. The area attracts some eight million visitors each year, who make the tourism industry the top employer in the city. Tourists spend about $1.7 billion in Branson annually, which generates more than $41 million in state sales tax revenue, $14.8 million in city sales tax revenue, and $12.1 million in tourism tax revenue.
-World Trade Press