December 21, 2023 2 min read

New poll: Workforce, child care and public safety remain top concerns of Missouri business leaders

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri business leaders say workforce shortages remain the biggest obstacle to their companies’ growth, and for the vast majority of CEOs, the state’s business climate remains stagnant, hampered by child care issues, inflation and rising crime.

That’s according to new poll results released by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The poll, conducted by CHS and Associates, surveyed more than 500 Missouri CEOs and business leaders, representing every region of the state and a wide range of business sizes.

“Every year, the Missouri Chamber asks CEOs and top business leaders at companies throughout the state to share their thoughts on the economy, the business climate, the direction of our state and more,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “Conducted by an independent research firm, the Missouri Chamber CEO Poll helps determine where and how the Missouri Chamber should focus its attention in the year ahead.”

According to the poll, 80 percent of business leaders said the expense and difficulty in finding child care keeps a significant number of Missourians out of the workforce. Ninety percent consider crime and public safety a growing or top concern.

“The Missouri business community is nearly unanimous on this issue – crime is hurting our state’s economic competitiveness,” Mehan said. “Additionally, it’s time to think about child care as critical infrastructure. We can’t afford to lose a single worker due to a lack of child care availability. During the 2024 legislative session, the Missouri Chamber will make addressing these concerns our top priority.”

Following are more of the 2023 survey results.

What is the biggest obstacle to growth for your business in Missouri today?

27%General Labor
10%Skilled Labor
4%Supply Chain
12%Government Leadership
9%Business Slow
25%Do Not Know

Over the next year, do you expect your workforce to increase, decrease or stay about the same?

55%Stay About the Same

Students graduating from high schools in Missouri are well-prepared for success in the workforce.


Which of the following is your greatest concern with the available workforce in Missouri?

62% Finding employees with professional skills such as showing up on time,
dressing appropriately, verbal skills and the ability to work with others.
19% Finding employees trained with technical skills and the ability to do specific jobs.
14% Finding employees with required education and experience.
4% Finding employees who can pass a drug test.

Which of the following legal reforms do you think it is most important for the business community to support?

21% Reforming the court system
7%Improve product liability laws
18%Preserve arbitration in employment settings as a cost-effective alternative to civil trials
46% Shortening the length of time during which lawsuits can be filed to create a more fair
and efficient litigation process that doesn’t drag on for many years (modifying the
statute of limitations)

The expense and difficulty in finding child care keeps a significant number of Missourians out of the workforce.

17%Somewhat Disagree

Tax incentives would make my company more likely to offer some type of child care benefits to employees.


How concerned are you about public safety and crime in Missouri?

90%It is a concern
9%It is not a concern

Do you think the rising crime rate in Missouri is impacting the state’s economic competitiveness?



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