Missouri economic report shows improved GDP and jobs numbers, aging workforce

Gov. Jay Nixon and state economic development officials have several positives from a recent report on Missouri’s economy to tout at this week’s Governor’s Conference on Economic Development.

The annual event kicked off Wednesday and runs through Friday in Kansas City. It follows last month’s release of the 2016 Missouri Economic Report, which showed increases in Missouri’s GDP and job creation, as well as a drop in the state unemployment rate, in 2015.

The annual report, issued by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, showed a 1.3 percent increase in GDP, up to $261.5 billion in 2015 from $258.2 billion in 2014.

In addition, 50,000 jobs were added to payrolls in the state between December 2014 and December 2015, which is the largest year-over-year increase in a decade. The Kansas City metropolitan area saw the biggest increase in terms of jobs, adding 14,6000 in 2015, a 2.87 percent surge.

The industries that saw the largest employment growth were the “Food and Lodgings” and the “Health Care and Social Assistance” sectors, which each added roughly 9,000 workers in 2015.

Manufacturing also saw an increase in jobs after losing 27,000 jobs between 2006 and 2010. Since 2010, the state has added 9,500 manufacturing jobs, which grew at an annualized rate of 1.7 percent between 2011 and 2015.

Meanwhile, the “Information” sector lost some 2,500 workers, and “Arts & Entertainment” shed about 1,600 jobs.

The report highlights the state’s unemployment rate dropping to 4.3 percent in May 2016, its lowest level in 11 years. The rate has since ticked up to 4.7 percent, as of the July jobs report, but that’s still less than half the state’s post-Recession unemployment peak of 10 percent in January 2010.

The economic report also points to an aging population in Missouri, where 16 percent of people are 65 or older, and an increasing number of people over 65 staying in the workforce. That mirrors a national trend.

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