(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?