Economy & Innovation

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

(Courtesy of EWB Development)

Details of a new outlet mall in the Chesterfield Valley were released today. The Spirit of St. Louis Outlets would be located on 55 acres about four miles west of Chesterfield Commons on the south side of Interstate-64 near the Spirit Airport. Officials say the $85-million, 555,000-square-foot development would create more than 2,500 jobs and generate $265 million in annual sales.

Stephen Coslik, CEO of Woodmont Outlets, says the location is perfect – it’s underserved by outlet stores and there’s access to the interstate.

(via Arch Coal)

Updated 1:02 p.m. with company comment

Arch Coal Inc. will pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit over selenium pollution in West Virginia waterways.

The environmental groups that sued last year say the deal holds the St. Louis-based company responsible for past damage and prevents more.

Arch spokeswoman Kim Link said Monday the case involves five discharge points and subsidiaries Coal-Mac Inc. and Mingo Logan Coal Co.

She says Arch will install treatment systems and take other precautions to ensure consistent compliance with pollution limits.

(via Flickr/bigburpsx3)

Missouri voters could be asked to raise the state's minimum wage to $8.25 an hour.

A group that backed a successful wage increase in the 2006 elections is now pushing to get the minimum wage issue back on the ballot in Missouri's 2012 elections.

An open-records request from The Associated Press shows that the minimum wage initiative already has been submitted to the secretary of state's office, which must approve a ballot title before supporters can begin gathering signatures.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

An audit shows that a southwestern Illinois airport that's never turned a profit since opening with great fanfare 13 years ago continues to lose money.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the review by J.W. Boyle & Co. found that MidAmerica St. Louis Airport had an operating loss of $11.9 million in 2010. That's 4.3 percent less than the previous year.

(via Flickr/Jennifer Boriss)

Reporting from KCUR's Elana Gordon used in this report.

Missouri has received a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to train more than 4,000 underemployed adults in the health services sector.  Governor Jay Nixon led the effort to bring the funds to the state’s 12 or so community colleges.  Deborah Goodall is with Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City and said the grant will help equip adults with high demand health care skills.  

File photo

The growing chorus of voices complaining about the fate of a half-built plant in Moberly, Missouri, is getting louder.

Today, Missouri's Attorney General chimed in, saying that his office would investigate whether the Mamtek USA project violated any state civil or criminal laws.

(via Flickr/Andrea_44)

Gov. Jay Nixon says he is strongly encouraged by news that General Motors may expand its factory in the eastern Missouri city of Wentzville.

The United Auto Workers said Tuesday that GM plans to invest $380 million and bring 1,850 new jobs to the Wentzville plant as part of a proposed contact deal with the labor union. Plans call for the addition of a second shift to produce full-size vans. The factory also would start making a midsize pickup truck.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Gov. Pat Quinn has announced two business agreements between Chinese and American companies.

Quinn was in Beijing during an eight-day trade mission Monday.

He says China-based Goldwind plans to build a $200 million wind farm in Lee County in north-central Illinois. Construction on the Shady Oaks project begins this fall.

President Obama this morning outlines a deficit-reduction plan that his economists say would reduce anticipated federal budget deficits by about $4 trillion over the next decade.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Illinois' unemployment rate shot up almost half a percentage point in August to 9.9 percent. And state officials are blaming the continuing struggles of the national economy and weak consumer confidence.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that Illinois' unemployment rate surged from 9.5 percent in July.

(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?

Part of an ongoing series.

Like some 14 million Americans, the people in our series The Road Back to Work started the year unemployed and searching for a job.

Back in January, we gave six people, all living in St. Louis, Mo., digital recorders and asked them to document their experience as they went through the process of looking for a job.

Working, Still Struggling

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Senator Claire McCaskill says after a month of traveling to Missouri businesses she’ll introduce legislation to better enforce U.S. trade laws.

The Democrat says too many foreign companies are engaging in unfair trading practices, such as mislabeling products to avoid paying duties.

McCaskill says her bill will require all importers to have a physical address to ensure easier tracking and new shippers will be required to pay cash for duties instead of posting bonds that sometimes go unpaid.

(via Flickr/Andres Rueda)

Credit score got you down? You can boost your score by hiring a credit clean-up service.

In case you missed it, check out this story from our own Adam Allington for Marketplace Money on how a couple hundred dollars investment can result in big savings in mortgages and other loans.

(via Flickr/srqpix)

This summer, fewer young people in the U.S. are employed than at any time since the government began keeping track.

On Wednesday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report that found just 48.8 percent of 16-to-24-year-olds had jobs in July.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman spoke with Michael Saltsman, a research fellow at the Employment Policies Institute, about what the numbers mean.

(via Flickr/[F]oxymoron)

 Opponents of Ameren Illinois’ $90 million rate increase request are gearing up for a hard fight.

The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and the AARP held a series of press conferences today to explain why they want state regulators to reject the proposal. Ameren Illinois is asking for an exorbitant “return on equity,” which is the allowed profit rate for shareholders, according to CUB senior policy analyst Bryan McDaniel.

(SLDC RFQ, July 9, 2010)

The St. Louis Development Corporation is holding a public meeting on Tuesday afternoon to discuss plans to develop the north St. Louis riverfront.

The engineering firm HNTB has been studying the 3,000-acre area for the city, to figure out what’s needed to turn it into a freight transportation hub. The city also wants to attract new businesses and jobs.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

State officials say unemployment in Illinois inched up to 9.5 percent in July, the third consecutive month it has increased.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security says there were 24,900 fewer jobs reported last month.

Unemployment for Illinois was 9.1 percent in June. But the rate one year ago in July was 10.1 percent.

The numbers were released Thursday and are based on data from the state agency and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

(via Flickr/number657)

Officials with Wehrenberg Theatres say when the announcement was made Friday some movie goers actually applauded.

The St. Charles-based company says as cell phone screens have gotten bigger, they’ve gotten more complaints.

Instead of blocking phone signals as some movie chains have done, Wehrenberg is asking patrons to put their phones on vibrate.

If they’re caught talking or texting, they’ll be asked to leave without a refund.

Spokeswoman Kelly Hoskins says they’re stepping up monitoring, and so are other movie goers.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

On Saturday, Standard and Poor's downgraded the debt of the United States a notch.

But the ratings firm continues to see debt issued by the city of St. Louis as a good investment, though vulnerable to economic shocks.