Economy & Innovation

News about the economy, business, and innovation happening in the St. Louis region.

An Illinois lawmaker is pushing to raise the state's minimum wage to more than $10 an hour - higher than anywhere else in the United States.

(via Flickr/boeingdreamscape)

American Airlines is recalling more former TWA flight attendants. U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill says American will rehire 365 of the furloughed employees.

The TWA flight attendants were put at the bottom of the seniority list when the airline was bought out by American. In 2001, American laid off 2,500 flight attendants, many of whom used to work for TWA.

(via Flickr/Artotem)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is reporting that reserves of corn have hit their lowest level in over 15 years.

The high demand for corn could put upward pressure on food prices in 2011.

The USDA says demand for corn in the ethanol industry is up 50 million bushels after record-high production in December and January.

That has left the United States with the lowest surplus of corn since 1996.

(via Flickr/denharsh)

Representatives of AT&T Missouri are downplaying rumors that customers will defect to Verizon when that company starts selling the iPhone on Thursday.

Among other improvements AT&T says that it's invested over $1.7 billion in its St. Louis wireless network.

Nancy Garvey is Vice President and General Manager for AT&T mobility.

Fergus Randall | Flickr

The Missouri Public Service Commission will take Laclede Gas Co. to court in a dispute over records of gas
purchases made by one of the utility's affiliates.

The commission's staff has been trying for three years to obtain information on gas transactions made by Laclede Energy Resources, a gas marketing company not regulated by the state.

Boeing announced today that they're moving into production at their new site in Mascoutah, Ill., the St. Louis Business Journal reports.

Square footage still trumps eco-friendliness

Feb 5, 2011

Want to add a little green to your weekend? Take a listen to Adam Allington's feature on house size and the impact of green technology on the housing economy. It aired on Marketplace Money today.

Also, be sure to listen for a local story on a similar topic airing Monday (Feb. 7) on St. Louis Public Radio.

Map of the location of the old Chrysler plants in Fenton. (via Google Maps)

Legislators from St. Louis County have filed bills aimed at bringing jobs back to the site of the old Chrysler plants in Fenton.

The bills filed today apply to new and existing businesses located within one mile of the old plants.

UPDATE: 3:30 p.m. Jan. 24, 2011

The St. Louis Business Journal reports that Smurfit-Stone will lose its dual headquarters of in Creve Coeur, Mo. and Chicago when it is acquired by RockTenn.

The new combined company will be based out of RockTenn’s headquarters in Norcross, Ga., the Business Journal reports.

The president and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association will step down by the end of this year.

Dick Fleming made the announcement Thursday.

He will continue to lead the RCGA until the board chooses his successor.

Fleming says the St. Louis region works together much better than it did when he first joined the RCGA back in 1994.

Natural gas customers of Ameren Missouri soon will see their rates go up, but not by much.

The monthly bill for a typical residential customer is projected to rise by about $3.30 under a plan approved by state regulators.

The increase will take effect Feb. 1.

The Missouri Public Service Commission said Thursday the rate agreement will generate about $5.6 million annually for Ameren Missouri. The company had requested an $11.9 million rate increase.

Yesterday, we told you that a $19 billion deal with China landed Boeing an order for production of 200 airplanes. Well, today's news about the company is more about cuts than gains.

Boeing Co. says it's cutting 1,100 jobs from its U.S. plants, most of them in Southern California, as it scales back production of its C-17 cargo planes.

St. Louis is one big step closer to securing a potentially lucrative trade partnership with China.

The Midwest-China Hub Commission announced today that China Eastern Airlines has agreed to open up talks with Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

The step signals that the plan has moved out of the plausibility phase and into a logistical phase.

(UPI/Boeing Aircraft Handout)

A senior administration official says China will announce deals Wednesday to purchase $45 billion in U.S.
exports, including a $19 billion agreement to buy 200 Boeing airplanes, according to the Associated Press.

The official says the deal will create 235,000 jobs in the U.S.

It is important to note, however, that these planes will be commercial aircraft. Moreover, the St. Louis division of Boeing, which produces military aircraft, is unlikely to benefit directly from today's deal.

A report by Dan Verbeck, KCUR

Workers at the Ford plant in suburban Kansas City received good news today from the automaker and Missouri's governor.

The number of full-time jobs will hold steady and the plant will make a $400 million expansion with help from the state.

Looks like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner will stay, well, a dream for just a bit longer.

Boeing Co. is pushing back the delivery date for its new 787 until at least July.

(via Flickr/iLoveMountains.org)

In addition to the story about mining you may have heard on NPR's All Things Considered this evening, a St. Louis-based coal company, Arch Coal, is in some trouble for one of their mines in West Virginia.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is making good on a 9-month-old threat and revoking a permit for West Virginia's largest mountaintop removal mine.

The Better Business Bureau received more than 200 complaints nationwide about an auto warranty marketer based in suburban St. Louis.

Stop Repair Bills of St. Peters also is getting an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau.

The company markets auto repair plans, but Bill Smith, a trade practice investigator with the BBB, says customers are missing the fine print.

St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. says higher sales of corn, soybean, vegetable and cotton seeds helped the company earn a profit in the first quarter of the fiscal year.

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?

Flickr Creative Commons user Victim Public

 

As many Missourians wrap up a weekend marked by celebration and plenty, somewhere near 16% of the state's population struggles with food insecurity.

Pharmaceutical giant Express Scripts announced today that it will invest $73 million to expand its St. Louis headquarters. The construction of the company's fourth building in the area is expected to create 150 new jobs.

Two men pleaded guilty to federal charges today in East St. Louis in an auto contract robo-calling scheme that had 15,000 victims in all 50 states. Here's a breakdown of the people, places and charges involved:

These two men were the president and vice president of Transcontinental Warranty...

- Christopher D. Cowart, 49 of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and

- Cris D. Saganelli, 45, of Boca Raton, Florida

Aaron Doerr

The Senate voted this afternoon to move ahead with Obama's compromise tax cut package.  A final Senate vote is expected Tuesday. But the bill still faces an uncertain future in the House. 

(Flickr Creative Commons User Dan4th)

A third person has been sentenced to prison for his role in the St. Louis towing scandal.

A federal judge on Friday sentenced 52-year-old Gregory Shepard to 10 months in prison and fined him $10,000. Shepard pleaded guilty in September to one count each of mail fraud and bribery.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois is set to get millions of dollars for high-speed rail projects that were supposed to go to two other states. But that news may not be as good as it sounds.

St. Louis Public Radio

Often tax legislation is a little bit muddled. We try to break down Obama's latest for you and let you know what your U.S. Senators, Kit Bond and Claire McCaskill, think as they go to vote on the bill.

(Flickr Creative Commons User Robert S. Donovan)

The president of Custom Janitorial Services and Supplies is facing federal charges alleging he embezzled nearly $1 million.

The St. Louis Business Journal reports that 54-year-old Herman Schamber of St. Louis worked out of the main Alexandria, Va. office of National Janitorial Services Inc.  and also owned and operated the another company, Custom Janitorial Services, out of the East Rutherford, N.J. area. The Business Journal explains:

 

(Flickr Creative Commons User taberandrew)

Bank of America is the largest bank in the United States, but they've also landed themselves in $137 million worth of trouble.

The bank's problems may be Missouri's gain.

(Flickr Creative Commons User Daniel Leininger)

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released data today about the state of unemployment over the past year for the St. Louis Mo.-Ill metropolitan area. We have some of the highlights for you:

  • St. Louis Mo.-Ill. registered an unemployment rate of 9.3 percent in October 2010 (not seasonally adjusted).
  • Nationally, the unemployment rate was 9.0 percent in October 2010, not seasonally adjusted.
  • Employment rose in St. Louis at a rate of 0.1 percent, but not as much as it did nationally, 0.5 percent.

So who was getting hired?

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