Economy & Innovation

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

via Wikimedia Commons

In a unanimous vote this week the Los Angeles City Council endorsed a plan to build an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles. The next step is finding a team, which may have implications for the St. Louis Rams. The Rams will be able to break their lease on the Edward Jones Dome in 2014 unless the city signs off on a package of expensive upgrades. The dome is considered by many to be one of the NFLs worst stadiums. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says the city does have some money set to pay for...


View Larger Map Updated 4:02 p.m.: Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. has released a statement regarding the complaint, read the full text here . The federal Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a St. Louis brokerage firm and a former executive with defrauding five Wisconsin school districts by selling them risky investments funded mainly with borrowed money. The SEC complaint against Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. and former Senior Vice President David Noack was filed in federal court in Milwaukee Wednesday.

(via Twitter/courtesy @stepliana)

Lucy Nobbe was fed up with Congress, angry over the U.S. credit downgrade, and she wanted the world to know. Now Nobbe, who sells municipal bonds, has become something of a celebrity, even a hero to many. The 51-year-old divorced mother of two daughters from suburban St. Louis spent $895 to hire an airplane to fly over New York City on Tuesday pulling a banner that read: THANKS FOR THE DOWNGRADE. YOU SHOULD ALL BE FIRED! Some mistakenly thought the banner was aimed at Standard & Poors,...

Courtesy Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was in St. Louis again Tuesday touting the states growing biotech sector and says a new package of economic incentives will continue to bring more hi-tech jobs to the state.

Nixon was in St. Louis County to welcome SyMyCo, the latest tenant of BRDG Park , the research and development wing of the Danforth Plant Science Center. The companys President Mike Amaranthus says $1 million in quality jobs tax credits as well as a $250,000 low-interest loan were...

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Today the Wall Street Journal ran a story about decreasing prospects for small regional airports like MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah, IL. When it was built over a decade ago MidAmerica was meant to serve as a reliever airport for Lambert and nearby Scott Air Force Base. As the Journal reports, those aspirations have largely failed to pan out, as departures from Lambert have dropped significantly since Sept. 11. Now, the airport is pinning its hopes to the prospect of serving as a freight hub...

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Thank you for joining us for the live broadcast of the Presidents remarks. President Obama addressed the nation this afternoon regarding the current economic situation. You can review a live-blog of the Presidents speech via NPRs The Two-Way.

St. Louis Convention & Visitor’s Commission

The City of St. Louis is hosting what tourism officials are calling the Super Bowl of Conventions this weekend. The members of American Society of Association Executives are responsible for booking some $60 billion in convention activity annually. All told, some 5,000 hospitality industry reps and executives will be in St. Louis from Saturday to Tuesday. The purpose of the convention is for those reps to try to convince 1,500 different associations to hold annual meetings in their city. Brian...

Update at 2:07 p.m. ET. President Signs Bill: President Obama has signed into law a bi-partisan bill that raises the debt ceiling and avoids a government default that analysts as well as the White House warned could have had catastrophic effects on the American economy. Earlier today, the Senate voted 74-26 to send the bill to the president's desk. The AP reports Obama signed the bill privately in the Oval Office. Our Original Post: With the country hours away from running out of money to pay...


View Larger Map SSM Cardinal Glennon Childrens Medical Center - one of the hospitals in SSM Health Cares St. Louis-area group of medical facilities. For the first time in its 25-year history, SSM Health Care no longer has a nun as its top executive officer. Sister Mary Jean Ryan will remain as chairman of the board of SSM. But she says shes reaching an age, 73, when she would prefer to step away from the day-to-day operations of the system, which owns 15 hospitals and two nursing homes in four states, including Missouri.

(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

It was once the regions largest shopping mall. Some even billed it as the largest mall in the world. Now, the vacant Northwest Plaza in St. Ann is up for sale by a group of lenders who need to get the 122-acre, 1.8 million square foot site off their books by 2012. They cant do anything except maintain the property in its current state, said St. Ann city administrator Matt Conley of the lenders, who are led by Wells Fargo-Wachovia. They cant sell off a piece of the property. If Wal-Mart...

(via Flickr/roberthuffstutter)

After years of drought, barge operators along the Missouri River got more rain than they had hoped for this year. The industry had grown optimistic when rising river levels appeared to promise an increase in barge traffic this year. The Missouri Department of Transportation even projected a 15 percent to 20 percent increase. But then the rains started, causing flooding along the 675-mile stretch from Sioux City, Iowa, to St. Louis. That prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to close the river between...

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Two of the nations largest pharmacy benefits management companies could become one in the first six months of next year. The $29.1 billion merger between St. Louis-based Express Scripts and and Medco Health Solutions , based in New Jersey, still needs approval from both shareholders and regulators. The boards of both companies approved the merger on Thursday. If approved, the company, which would retain the Express Scripts name and headquarters, would be the largest of its kind in the country...

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Unemployment in Illinois increased to 9.2 percent in June, the second straight month the state jobless rate increased . The state Department of Employment Security on Thursday laid part of the blame on weak consumer confidence they said was hindering the national economy. The national unemployment rate hit also 9.2 percent in June. That was up from 9.1 percent. The employment security department said the number of people in Illinois out of work and looking increased by 18,900 to 603,700. The...

(via Flickr/dbking)

Updated 5:26 p.m. with further detail and comment from lawmakers Updated 2:24 p.m. with statement from office of Gov. Nixon on special session A statement issued today from Scott Holste, a spokesperson for Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon, announces that the governor will call the Missouri legislature into special session. The date of the special session has not been determined. The announcement came just moments after Republican legislative leaders said they had reached an agreement on a plan to create...

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 7:51 p.m . A letter from Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon circulated around Twitter this afternoon, and hosted on the Missouri Chamber of Commerces website, states that Nixon will be leading a Missouri delegation to China later this year. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch , Nixons office has confirmed that the trip is in the works. The purpose of the trip? To, follow up on the partnership opportunities that are being established. The mission as Nixon calls it, will focus on expanding export...

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

The unemployment rate in Missouri ticked down slightly last month, according to new data from the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Missouris rate last month was 8.8 percent, down from 8.9 percent in May 2011 , and a sharp decrease from June 2010 , when 9.2 percent of the states citizens were out of work. The national rate for June stood at 9.2 percent. Overall, the number of people employed in Missouri dropped by 29,000. Kansas City lost 9,200 jobs and Joplin, which was devastated...

(via Flickr/taberandrew)

Illinois home foreclosure activity rose 4 percent in June compared to the previous month, but was down 25 percent from one year earlier. A report released Thursday by Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac shows Illinois with 6,541 homes receiving initial foreclosure filings last month. Another 1,944 properties were scheduled for auction sale and 2,529 properties were repossessed by banks. Looking at the first six months of the year, Illinois foreclosure activity fell 29 percent compared to the same...

s_falkow | Flickr

A St. Louis County plumbing contractor has filed a lawsuit against the utility company Ameren . The suit alleges the plumbing company lost its contract because it repeatedly informed Ameren of environmental, health, and safety violations. According to the lawsuit, those violations ranged from failing to fix broken plumbing systems to illegally discharging oil to soils and sewers.

The plaintiffs, Kara and Robert Bishop of Bishop & Associates, say they provided Ameren with...

(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. The survey of supply managers and executives and the report...

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

State officials say unemployment in all 12 Illinois metro areas dropped in May, and all but three of those regions added jobs or were unchanged. The Illinois Department of Employment Security put out its monthly metro and county-level unemployment stats Thursday. The department says the biggest decreases last month were in Peoria, Rockford, Danville and the Kankakee-Bradley area. Rockford remains the area with the highest unemployment rate at 10.7 percent. But thats down from 14.2 percent a...

A processing floor at Express Scripts in north St. Louis County.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

The nations largest drugstore chain is locked in a contract fight with one of the St. Louis areas largest employers. Walgreen Co. revealed during an earnings call today that its planning to end its $5.3-billion-per-year relationship with Express Scripts Inc. on Jan. 1, saying it cannot reach a deal on the fees the pharmacy benefits manager pays to fill the prescriptions of Walgreens customers. Walgreen officials say Express Scripts wants to cut those payments below what it costs Walgreen to...

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the states unemployment rate increased to 8.9 percent in May. Thats up from 8.7 percent just a month earlier and the first monthly increase since January 2010. The department said Thursday in its monthly release on the statewide unemployment picture that: Illinois still had lower unemployment in May than the country as a whole. The national rate was 9.1 percent. Thats up slightly from 9 percent in April. More detailed data on Illinois...

US Fidelis founders face multiple felony indictments

Jun 15, 2011
St. Charles County Department of Corrections.

The millionaire brothers who ran US Fidelis, the countrys largest auto-warranty service provider have been indicted on multiple felony charges. Darain and Cory Atkinson founded US Fidelis in 2003 selling the kind of extended auto warranties often advertised in junk mail or TV. Over a three-year period the Better Business Bureau received over a thousand complaints and 33,000 inquiries. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced the indictments in St. Charles on Wednesday. He says the...

(via Arch Coal)

Arch Coal says its completed a $14.60 per share tender offer for stock in rival International Coal Group. The offer closed Tuesday and Arch says it expects to complete the acquisition of Scott Depot-based ICG Wednesday. Arch offered to buy ICG for $3.4 billion in May. Arch says ICG shareholders tendered nearly 188 million shares in the offer. It intends to purchase additional shares from ICG to push its ownership stake above 90 percent, enabling the deal to close. St. Louis-based Arch hopes...

courtesy AEG

A sports and entertainment company seeking to build an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles has spoken to the St. Louis Rams. AEG President Tim Leiweke told the Orange County Register that he is reaching out to the Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars. The Rams future in St. Louis may hinge on the status of their downtown stadium, The Edward Jones Dome. The Rams have the option of breaking their lease with the city of St. Louis if the...

St. Louis City Hall
Richie Diesterheft | Flickr

The City of St. Louis has received $600,000 to provide homeless veterans with services. The money will be split between the St. Patrick Center, which offers housing services, and Employment Connection which provides job training skills. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says that as approximately 12 percent of the citys homeless are veterans. This is a last resort, where the veterans come back, they cant find a job or there could be other circumstances that cause them to be homeless, says Slay. As...

Rising water levels on the Missouri River are expected to swamp hundreds of thousands of acres of crops and halt barge traffic. The threat of decreased crop acreage in the Dakotas, Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri is driving prices for corn and soybeans on Wednesday. Ron Plain is a Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri. He says flooding along the Missouri River could be devastating for bottomland farmers. The water level is going to be up for over a month, some talk of...

NFL players, owners appeal labor dispute in St. Louis

Jun 3, 2011
Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

Adversaries in the contentious pro football labor battle convened in a Federal Appeals Court in St. Louis on Friday. The National Football League is appealing an April injunction from a Minnesota Judge that temporarily lifted the lockout. The NFL Players Association is in the process of suing the league, claiming that the lockout in violation of federal anti-trust laws. Paul Clement is an attorney for the NFL team owners; he told a three-judge panel that the issue before them is one for labor...

(Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio)

Hearings will begin in about a week on a $276 million rate increase request for the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District. MSD says the rate hike is needed to comply with stricter regulatory requirements and to reduce wastewater overflows into area creeks and streams. A 15-member rate commission made up of a variety of local organizations will decide how much of the rate increase to recommend if at all. Commission chairman Len Toenjes held a press conference Friday to explain how the...

Arch Coal has cleared a key regulatory hurdle facing its proposed $3.4 billion takeover of rival International Coal Group. Scott Depot-based ICG and St. Louis-based Arch announced Wednesday that the the antitrust waiting period under U.S. law has expired. That satisfies one condition for the deal to close. Arch agreed to buy ICG on May 2 and has since started a $14.60-a-share tender offer . The offer expires June 14. The deal is designed to exploit growing demand for high-priced coal used to...

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