July 19, 2023 Less than a minute read

Missouri outpacing U.S. in manufacturing job growth

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, total manufacturing employment has grown 5.7% in Missouri, outpacing national growth of 1.6%, according to the Missouri Chamber’s latest quarterly economic report. Ted Abernathy, managing partner of Economic Leadership LLC, said Missouri has added over 30,000 net new jobs in manufacturing between 2010 and 2022.

“The change in manufacturing jobs over the last 12 years has been a real resurgence that not a lot of people were predicting,” Abernathy said. “We’ve seen a manufacturing renaissance that we think is just going to get stronger as we go forward.”

“Many people still have an antiquated idea of what manufacturing looks like,” said Dan Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber. “Today’s manufacturing jobs are some of the most high-tech and high-paying. Missouri’s heritage was built on making things, and we are excited to see our state take the lead in bringing these opportunities back.”

While the economy is re-normalizing after the pandemic, Abernathy said some industries are rebounding faster than others. Since 2020, Missouri has outperformed the nation in manufacturing employment, as well as construction and financial services.

Economic recovery varies by location, though. Joplin and Springfield have seen strong employment growth since 2020, and Kansas City, Jefferson City and Columbia have made a big comeback over the past year. St. Joseph and St. Louis still lag behind.

With unemployment near record lows, Abernathy said labor will continue to be an issue moving forward. However, he calls growth in the manufacturing sector “momentum building.”

“In certain sectors, Missouri seems to have found its footing for future growth,” Abernathy said.

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