(Via Flickr/Mandalit)

Hundreds of thousands of government employees went on furlough today, as the federal government began a partial shutdown. Thousands of those employees live and work in the St. Louis region. Meanwhile the debt ceiling deadline looms.

What kind of economic impact will the shutdown and debt ceiling have on the St. Louis region?

St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh spoke with economist Howard Wall, Colonel Kyle Kremer, Commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing at Scott Air Force Base, and St. Louis Beacon reporter Jason Rosenbaum to find out.

 Data compiled by Bryan Noeth, policy analyst at the Center for Household Financial Stability at the St. Louis Fed
Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Five years after the U.S. financial crisis, the stock market has rebounded and risen to new heights, but analysts say the majority of U.S. households are still struggling to regain the financial footing they lost during the Great Recession.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Marketing analysts and consultants are talking a lot these days about the U.S. economy’s new hour-glass figure: Heavy on top and bottom; trimmer in the middle.

via Flickr/KellyB.

The unemployment rate in the St. Louis area remained slightly below the national average in May, but a local economics professor says the story behind that number isn’t good news.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the non-adjusted data today. That means it does not take into account predictable seasonal changes.

The 7 percent unemployment rate for the St. Louis area is an improvement from May 2012, and far below the peak unemployment rate of 10.4 percent in 2009.

Erin Williams

This spring, fast food workers from across the country began banding together and rallying for better wages, fair treatment, and a healthier workplace. The movement began to swell, and in May the ‘STL Can’t Survive On 7.35’ campaign hit the region. Employees staged walkouts, passed out flyers, and marched the street in an effort to educate the public and command attention. The idea of protest may seem initially enticing, but is it worth risking your job?

(Flickr Creative Commons User Daniel Leininger)

Jobs that require at least some STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, knowledge make up a big chunk of the St. Louis region's economy. 

That’s according to a new report from the Brookings Institution. 

Usually, researchers consider a plant scientist or electrical engineer as someone with a STEM job.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The good news is starting to percolate up from a still recovering economy. The Conference Board recently released its May Consumer Confidence Survey and our subjective appraisal of current economic conditions has improved over April, a trend over the past few months. This tentatively rosy outlook is matched by the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, which also is on the rise.

Erin Williams

After only two years of doing business in north St. Louis, the grocery store known as the Old North Grocery Co-Op may soon close down.

Store manager Jill Whitmann says re-vamping the co-op’s business model to rely primarily on volunteers will help shore up more funds before the end of May, when the budget will tighten.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A Saint Louis University economist thinks he has found a key to growth for St. Louis.

Professor Jack Strauss presented his findings this afternoon from an economic study that shows a direct correlation between an increasing immigrant population and economic growth. The study was originally released in June.

He says he thinks it is likely that the city’s economic slump is partly due to a dwindling number of immigrants living in the area. Four and a half percent of St. Louis’ population is foreign. In other large cities, that number is closer to 18 percent.  

KellyB. | Flickr

A new report shows Missouri gaining nearly 18,000 jobs last month while the state's unemployment rate held steady at 7.2 percent.

The state Department of Economic Development released the figures Tuesday. 

The agency says the net gain of 17,900 nonfarm payroll jobs from July included 4,900 jobs in manufacturing and 10,200 jobs in the government sector - nearly all of those at the local level. 

The U.S. population is growing. In normal times, the labor force — working or not — would be growing too. But these are not normal times, and the labor force is actually smaller than it was four years ago, meaning millions of people who should be there aren't.

The reasons people drop out of the workforce are myriad. People go back to school. Others have health issues or family priorities that keep them from looking for work. But some stop looking because they are discouraged.

The Planet Money team takes a look beyond the pleats, lapels and buttons of suit economics. Check it out in the graphic via the link.

Take a look at this report from NPR's Planet Money team. How does it compare with your life? Do you spend more on education or health care? What about entertainment? Explore their visual take on the statistics via the link.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Study says region needs more immigrants

A new study to be released this morning says the St. Louis region needs to attract more immigrants if it wants to thrive in the current economy.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch got an advance look at the study, written by Saint Louis University professor Jack Strauss.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Victim of tent collapse died of blunt force trauma

The St. Louis medical examiner says a man who was killed when a tent collapsed near Busch Stadium on Saturday died of blunt force trauma.

58-year-old Alfred Goodman of Waterloo, Ill., was the only fatality when a party tent at Kilroy’s Sports Bar blew apart in a violent thunderstorm. 100 people were treated at the scene, and another 16 taken to local hospitals.

(via Flickr/KellyB)

Missouri's 7.4 percent jobless rate is the lowest it's been in more than three years - but that's bad news for about 9,000 of the state's 112,000 people receiving unemployment benefits.

State lawmakers last year outlasted a determined filibuster by Republican Senator Jim Lembke to approve an additional 20 weeks in benefits - funded entirely by the federal government - for Missouri residents who had been out of work for 79 weeks, or more than a year and a half.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri companies exported $14.1 billion worth of goods and services last year, according to new data from the World Trade Center St. Louis and the World Institute for Strategic Economic Research.

That's a record level of exports, officials say - $500 million higher than the previous record, which was set in 2007. The state's biggest customers were Canada, Mexico and China, with China's consumption of goods like copper scrap, fan parts, and semiconductor devices growing another 18 percent in 2011.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum brought a small-government, family-centered message to St. Charles on Monday - marking the first appearance by a Republican presidential candidate in the state this election cycle.

A crowd of 300 packed into an auditorium that at the St. Charles Community College campus in Cottleville that's meant for 270. Hundreds more could not get seats and waited for the candidate outside.

Santorum says as president, he'll focus on making sure that government takes actions that make it easier for American companies to compete globally.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed suit against ratings agency Standard and Poor's for fraudulently assigning high ratings to mortgage-backed investments despite their risk.

The suit filed today in Cook County - the state's largest - argues that instead of independently evaluating mortgage-backed securities, S&P gave them higher ratings than warranted to benefit investment bank clients and the agency's bottom line.

(via Flickr/KOMUnews/Mike Anderson)

County confirms salad bars at Schnucks focus of E. coli investigation

St. Louis County officials have acknowledged that salad bars at Schnucks are the main focus of an investigation into an E. coli outbreak.

(via Flickr/LarimdaME)

Updated 2:46 p.m. with additional contextual information

A newly released report shows that nearly 15 percent of people in Missouri are poor.

The Census Bureau's annual report released Tuesday offers a snapshot of the economic well-being of U.S. households for 2010, when joblessness hovered above 9 percent for a second year.

Nationally, nearly 1 in 6 people were classified as poor.

Meanwhile, the share of Americans without health coverage rose from 16.1 percent to 16.3 percent - or 49.9 million people - after the Census Bureau made revisions to numbers of the uninsured. That is due mostly to continued losses of employer-provided health insurance in the weakened economy.

In Missouri, 14 percent of residents lacked insurance.

But how does today's data compare with the numbers in years prior?

(via Flickr/bradleypjohnson)

For St. Louisans, there is one nugget of good news amidst the plunging Dow and struggling economy: gas prices are falling steeply in the St. Louis area.

Experts say the price of a barrel of oil dropped after Standard & Poor's lowered the nation's credit rating by one notch last week.

The price of gas fell below $3.20 per gallon at many stations in the St. Louis area on Monday. Just a little over a week ago, drivers shelled out more than $3.60 for a gallon of regular unleaded at some stores.



(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Thank you for joining us for the live broadcast of the President's remarks.

President Obama addressed the nation this afternoon regarding the current economic situation. You can review a live-blog of the President's speech via NPR's "The Two-Way."

(via Flickr/dbking)

Lambert -St. Louis International Airport is seeing an increase in passengers for the third straight month.

In June, the airport experienced a 4.4 percent increase in the number of departing passengers, which matches the numbers from a year ago.

Airport spokesman Jeff Lea says the airport is recovering from tough economic times in 2009 and 2010.

(via Flickr/Seabamirum)

A survey of nine Midwestern and Plains suggests that higher energy prices and supply problems are slowing economic growth.

A report released Friday says the Business Conditions Index for the Mid-America region dropped in June, to 54.9 from 60.2 in May.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says higher energy prices and supply problems stemming from the Japanese tsunami and Midwest and Plains flooding have slowed economic growth.

(via Karen Hill/Missouri Botanical Garden)

The Missouri Botanical Garden will host a Chinese lantern festival next year.

The exhibition—the first of its kind in the United States—will feature 26 large, brightly-colored lantern displays from China's Zigong province.

(via Flickr/ Giles Douglas)

More not-so-great economic news for the St. Louis region today.

The Home Builders Association of St. Louis and Eastern Missouri released its data on the number of permits issued by the six counties (St. Louis, St. Charles, Lincoln, Warren and Franklin) and the city of St. Louis. They show that builders were looking to start construction on just 120 new single-family homes in January 2011. That's down more than 40 percent from January 2010, and is the lowest monthly total since November of 2008.

_J_D_R_ / Flickr

The costs of goods and services in the St. Louis region rose 2.5 percent between the last six months of 2009 and the last six months of 2010 - more than double the national rate over that same time.

Though the Bureau of Labor Statistics data show electricity prices going up 13.1 percent and motor fuel going up 10.1 percent, bureau economist Jacqueline Michael Midkiff says they weren't the real drivers of the increase.

Flickr/Rob Lee

A survey says that economic growth in the Midwest will continue into the first half of the new year, but what does that really mean?