The St. Louis region remains about 50,000 jobs, or 4 percent, below its pre-recession peak of 1,358,000 in 2007. A report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors predicted it will take another two or three years to build back what was lost.
But some sectors have weathered the last seven years far better than others. Health care, which never shrank, has packed on 28,000 jobs since 2007. After dips in the worst of the recession, employment in education and finance here has climbed to all-time highs. Lower wage sectors, such as retail trade and hospitality, have rebounded lately.
But the number of jobs in manufacturing and construction remains down 19 percent and 30 percent, respectively, since 2007. And there’s a growing sense that those jobs are never really coming back. “Clearly St. Louis is becoming a service-based economy, like a lot of the U.S.,” said Kevin Kliesen, a business economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.