Economic Development News
Chamber hosts regional economic update
Published: Monday, March 7, 2016
By: Linda Funke
Charles Gascon, Regional Economist & coordinator in the Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, was the presenter at a luncheon hosted by the Chamber February 29 at the DoubleTree Hotel. The luncheon was attended by more than 50 community leaders.
Gascon analyzes economic conditions in the Eighth Federal Reserve District and contributes to the bank’s reports on economic conditions in the district. His reports have been published in several publications including “The Regional Economist.” The January 2016 issue includes an article about Jefferson City. VIEW ARTICLE
Jefferson City, the 15th largest city in the state, is the hub of a 4-county region of approximately 150,000 people, comprising the Jefferson City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The MSA has experienced gradual population growth over the past 10 years, rising by 6.4 percent since 2004. Over the same period, Missouri’s population grew by 5.5 percent while the nation’s population grew by 8.9 percent.
Gascon noted the resiliency of the Jefferson City MSA during the recession years from 2007-2009 was largely due to positive job growth in state and local government and the stability of the local housing market. While steady government employment was able to keep the MSA’s economy afloat during the recession as the private sector contracted, the dynamics have reversed during the recovery. The role of state government is decreasing and there is growth in the private sector, especially in the health care industry.
Most key economic indicators provide signs that the economy is still in the process of adjusting to a “new normal” following the recession. There has been steady job growth since 2014, with unemployment at its lowest rate in nearly a decade. However, total employment in the region is still below pre-recession levels and job growth is only marginally stronger than a year ago. The cost of living in Jefferson City is 18% below the national average, with the median house price at $132,000. Rents are 40% below the national average. One of the challenges facing the Jefferson City MSA is attracting young, educated professionals.
With the US economic outlook remaining upbeat, the local fiscal situation is improving and the private sector is in recovery, all of which should add up to a positive 2016.