Technology2030

The Missouri Chamber Foundation’s Technology2030 report is a strategy to reposition our state as a global economic leader through the technology sector by the year 2030.

Report Summary

Missouri has a rich and growing technology sector, and the state can be even more competitive, grow even faster and be more broadly recognized as a technology leader. This report reviews employment, growth, concentration and wages for the tech sector in Missouri. The state’s performance is measured against other states for comparison. The report also evaluates a variety of technology infrastructure indicators to gauge the state’s competitiveness in the tech sector.

Overall, tech accounted for more than 5 percent of the state’s total employment, about 6 percent of its establishments and 9 percent of all wages. However, the tech industry has a greater impact on the state’s wages and sales. Missouri’s robust technology sector includes more than 12,170 employers employing almost 150,000 people and providing almost $16 billion in wages.

Missouri has a rich and growing technology sector, and the state can be even more competitive, grow even faster and be more broadly recognized as a technology leader. This report reviews employment, growth, concentration and wages for the tech sector in Missouri. The state’s performance is measured against other states for comparison. The report also evaluates a variety of technology infrastructure indicators to gauge the state’s competitiveness in the tech sector.

Overall, tech accounted for more than 5 percent of the state’s total employment, about 6 percent of its establishments and 9 percent of all wages. However, the tech industry has a greater impact on the state’s wages and sales. Missouri’s robust technology sector includes more than 12,170 employers employing almost 150,000 people and providing almost $16 billion in wages.

The economic performance of the Missouri tech sector ranked strongest in measures of workforce diversity, cost-of-living-adjusted wages and IT growth rates.

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In this report, the total tech sector and each of the subsectors were compared to other states. The economic performance of the Missouri tech sector ranked strongest in measures of workforce diversity, cost-of-living-adjusted wages and IT growth rates. For 8 of the 31 technology performance indicators, Missouri ranked in the top 15 states.

A second set of state comparisons measured Missouri’s technology infrastructure, the foundations of a vibrant knowledge economy. Missouri ranked in the top 15 states for two of these indicators, including business-sponsored research and development and entrepreneurship levels. This report also identifies areas that need improvement. Missouri did not compare as well in broadband access, internet adoption and startup survival rates.

The results of this analysis reveal that Missouri’s tech sector is currently small in concentration compared to more traditional technology states, but it is an emerging hub with high levels of growth and important assets in place. With continued growth and attention, the tech sector can be a strong contributor to the Missouri economy and help the state grow and remain competitive.

In this report, the total tech sector and each of the subsectors were compared to other states. The economic performance of the Missouri tech sector ranked strongest in measures of workforce diversity, cost-of-living-adjusted wages and IT growth rates. For 8 of the 31 technology performance indicators, Missouri ranked in the top 15 states.

A second set of state comparisons measured Missouri’s technology infrastructure, the foundations of a vibrant knowledge economy. Missouri ranked in the top 15 states for two of these indicators, including business-sponsored research and development and entrepreneurship levels. This report also identifies areas that need improvement. Missouri did not compare as well in broadband access, internet adoption and startup survival rates.

The results of this analysis reveal that Missouri’s tech sector is currently small in concentration compared to more traditional technology states, but it is an emerging hub with high levels of growth and important assets in place. With continued growth and attention, the tech sector can be a strong contributor to the Missouri economy and help the state grow and remain competitive.

key findings

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The findings of this report show that Missouri remains an emerging hub for the tech sector. The stability of the tech sector helped Missouri’s economy survive during the COVID-19 pandemic and can continue to help Missouri adapt to a rapidly changing economy. Beyond being a low-cost alternative to the high prices of major coastal cities, the state has particular competitive advantages. Growth in IT and tech manufacturing is among the top in the nation. The state’s resources show that Missouri could become a major player in the emerging tech subsectors such as advanced manufacturing, agtech and fintech.

To continue growth in the state, deficiencies will need to be addressed. The tech sector will likely continue to concentrate in the urban areas until broadband access is available and adopted in the rural portions of the state. Rural broadband may help other parts of the state capitalize on the proliferation of remote work after the pandemic. The state must put more focus on investment in research and development to leverage what private employers are investing in finding new innovations. More support to help entrepreneurs thrive is also needed.

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The findings of this report show that Missouri remains an emerging hub for the tech sector. The stability of the tech sector helped Missouri’s economy survive during the COVID-19 pandemic and can continue to help Missouri adapt to a rapidly changing economy. Beyond being a low-cost alternative to the high prices of major coastal cities, the state has particular competitive advantages. Growth in IT and tech manufacturing is among the top in the nation. The state’s resources show that Missouri could become a major player in the emerging tech subsectors such as advanced manufacturing, agtech and fintech.

To continue growth in the state, deficiencies will need to be addressed. The tech sector will likely continue to concentrate in the urban areas until broadband access is available and adopted in the rural portions of the state. Rural broadband may help other parts of the state capitalize on the proliferation of remote work after the pandemic. The state must put more focus on investment in research and development to leverage what private employers are investing in finding new innovations. More support to help entrepreneurs thrive is also needed.

Industry-Driven IT Apprenticeship Grant Program

The data from this report was used in Missouri’s application for the federal Industry-Driven IT Apprenticeship grant.

About the Authors

Ted Abernathy monochrome portrait photograph.

TED ABERNATHY

Ted Abernathy is the managing partner of Economic Leadership LLC, a Raleigh, North Carolina–based company that helps businesses — and places — increase their competitiveness. Ted has 40 years of experience directing economic development and workforce development programs. From 2008 to 2013, Ted was the executive director of the Southern Growth Policies Board, a 42-year-old public-policy think tank that provided research to states and communities across the South.

Before Southern Growth, Ted was an economic developer for 28 years, including eight years as executive vice president/COO for the Research Triangle Regional Partnership. His latest research has focused on reimagining workforce development, making manufacturing more competitive and analyzing 25 years of rural economic development policy. Ted received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his master’s from Johns Hopkins University. He is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute and is an Eisenhower Fellow for global economics.

Sara Casey monochrome portrait photograph.

SARA CASEY

Sara Casey specializes in data collection, analysis and visualization on a variety of economic topics. Her research efforts have included conducting economic impact analysis, determining in-demand workforce needs and characterizing emerging clusters in regional economies. Sara has worked with clients including federal government agencies, international non-government organizations, research foundations, trade associations and economic development groups. She has worked with Economic Leadership for more than five years. Before joining the Economic Leadership team, Sara was an economist at RTI International.

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