Economy & Innovation

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

Monsanto Headquarters
Monsanto

Facing increasing pressure from declining seed sales, St. Louis-based Monsanto has announced plans to cut more jobs from its global work force.

Under what the company describes as a Revised Restructuring Plan, it will eliminate 3,600 positions through the end of fiscal year 2018. Monsanto's original initiative, announced last October, called for 2,600 job cuts.

A view of the outside of the Peabody Energy building in St. Louis.
St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 11:30 a.m., Jan. 5 with details of new agreement - A health fund for retired miners will stay solvent for at least 10 more months.

Peabody Energy and the United Mine Workers of America have reached an agreement. The company will pay $75 million into the health fund this year, but will not have to pay $70 million next year.

Jim McKelvey, Co-founder, Square
Scott Pham|KBIA

It has been a big year for an emerging technology company with St. Louis roots.

Square went public on the New York Stock Exchange a few weeks ago. It also opened a St. Louis office, which is expected to employ more than 200 in five years.

Athrasher | Flickr

The end of the year is looming and with it the end of the tax year as well.  Between holiday shopping, parties and travel it seems like the coming year’s taxes have been the furthest from the brain. Lucky for you, there are still steps you can take to lessen your tax burden in 2016 before 2015 is even over.

Sparkle Burns, a community coach with Jobs Plus, entertains Kylie Short while the nine-month-old's mother works on her resume at Clinton-Peabody's Al Chappelle Center.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

At 53, Lucretia Hollins is older than your average cheerleader. But that, in essence, is what she’s paid 20 hours a week to be. Hollins encourages her neighbors to sign up — and stick with — a new job-training program at their public housing complex, the Clinton-Peabody in St. Louis' near south-side.

“It’s not so much about the paycheck. It’s about being able to help somebody else,” said Hollins. “Because I know where I was at, and you can’t let your circumstances in life take you out.”

gift card generic
Mike Mozart | Flickr

Thousands of Missourians have leftover gifts to reclaim from the state treasurer’s office this holiday season.

According to Treasurer Clint Zweifel, the state is holding nearly $9 million worth of gift cards and gift certificates that have been dormant for at least five years.

“We all know what it’s like during the holiday season. You get gifts; you get gift cards. You set them aside; you might forget about them,” he said. “Or you might lose them in the travels that you have. We’ve returned $145,000 this year alone in gift cards.”

LockerDome Logo
LockerDome

A St. Louis-based social media technology company is moving into a much larger space as it prepares to add 300 jobs over the next five years.

LockerDome's headquarters will remain downtown on Washington Avenue, but plans to be in the new space by the end of next year. It will be 18,000 square feet as opposed to the company's current 6,800 square-foot office.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon at World Wide Technology groundbreaking
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

One of the St. Louis region's most prominent technology companies is hoping to use some workplace culture elements of some of the big players in Silicon Valley in its new headquarters in Maryland Heights.

World Wide Technology plans to open the space for 1,000 workers in 2017. It will anchor a $95 million revitalization effort for Westport Plaza.

Company officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday.

United States Department of Agriculture | via Flickr

The top Christmas tree producing states are Oregon, North Carolina and Michigan. So how is it that the National Tree Christmas Association is based in Chesterfield?

"There’s lots of office space," joked executive director Rick Dungey.

The trade organization represents about 600 active member farms, 29 state and regional associations, and more than 3,800 affiliated businesses. While Missouri ranks 26th in Christmas tree production, Dungey said their office's location doesn't much matter when handling their members’ business.

File photo | Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

Metro Transit is disputing a recent study that suggests its operations in the St. Louis area are financially unsustainable.

ChrisYunker | via Flickr

Unemployment in the St. Louis region is the lowest it’s been in years, but job growth is still below the national average.

That’s according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ fourth quarter Burgundy Report on economic conditions, released Friday.

The St. Louis zone, which includes eastern Missouri and southern Illinois, had an average unemployment rate of 5.2 percent in the third quarter. That’s the lowest it’s been since the second quarter of 2007.

With U.S. Steel set to start idling operations in Granite City next week, some Metro East leaders are calling on federal lawmakers to take a tougher stance on overseas steel producers selling on the U.S. market at unfairly low prices.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Developer Paul McKee will not be among the landowners taken to court by the city of St. Louis in an effort to lure a federal agency to the north side.

The Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority reached a deal with McKee’s company, Northside Regeneration, this week. That includes the option to buy more than 300 parcels of McKee’s land within the proposed site of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

(Illustration by Susannah Lohr, St. Louis Public Radio)

For some investors it’s about more than making money.

Sustainable, Responsible and Impact (SRI) financial investments are becoming more common among both public and private investors.

Madaket Growth, LLC, a St. Louis-based investment company, is capitalizing on that trend. Founder Christopher Desloge said they’re now starting the first SRI investment fund for qualified investors in St. Louis. (Those investors earn more than $200,000 a year and have assets of at least $1 million, excluding their home.)

Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” host Don Marsh discussed the year in business happenings in the area — from Cortex to coal to NGA — with the reporters who know the subject best.

Arcade Apartments, Arcade Building
(courtesy of Missouri History Museum, St. Louis)

Updated Friday, Dec. 11, 5 p.m. Developers say that construction is complete on the Arcade Apartments. Construction crews wrapped up their work last week and the first residents have moved in.

Jeff Huggett, a developer at Dominuim, says more than 100 of the apartments have been reserved. In a statement, he says the Arcade Building project is the largest apartment renovation in St. Louis in decades.

Our original story:

The Arcade Building in downtown St. Louis is set to reopen in December for the first time since it closed in 1978.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

They weren’t fastballs, but there was a lot of pitching at Busch Stadium on Thursday.

The founders of four sports startups threw their best stuff at investors gathered inside the ballpark. It was Stadia Ventures first demo day.

The St. Louis-based accelerator offers 10-week mentorship for sports entrepreneurs and investments of up to $100,000. Co-founder Art Chou said it’s the right city for the sports innovation hub.

(Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio)

Developer Paul McKee owns the lion’s share of the land within the proposed north St. Louis site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

This past June, 33 Veterans Court Technology Clinic students and supporters watched as seven of their colleagues took part in the clinic’s first formal graduation ceremony. The clinic is part of a special drug court in St. Louis that provides an alternative to incarceration for veterans. It provides job skills for participants in the program.

Security guards at the Callaway nuclear power plant near Fulton warn they could go on strike if they don’t reach a contract agreement with Ameren Missouri.

The United Government Security Officers of America Local 11 represents 91 security officers at Missouri’s only nuclear power plant. They’ve been on a month-to-month contract since rejecting an agreement with Ameren Missouri in July.

Rep. Lacy Clay
St. Louis Public Radio

A formal rollout of a federal initiative that could help revitalize some of the poorest sections of north St. Louis County and city is expected next month.

America's Central Port

The forecast for 2016 in Madison County and the St. Louis region’s newly-created freight district includes 9,600 feet of rail track, 1 million cubic yards of dirt and 8,000 cubic yards of concrete — and the sound of barge horns. The South Harbor at America’s Central Port was recently christened and is set to open in 2016 — with an expected increase in commodities flow by 25 percent.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

Cyber security has become a major initiative of the Pentagon.

As part of that initiative, Scott Air Force Base has a new cyberspace operations group that will eventually include 300 new jobs. The 688th Cyberspace Wing activated the group on Tuesday.

Colonel Roger Vrooman also became the new commander of the group during Tuesday's activation ceremony. He later told members of the media that he worries about cyber attacks that aren’t detected.

Monsanto
St. Louis Public Radio

Monsanto, a global agricultural company headquartered in St. Louis, says it is taking a leadership role as the sector deals with climate change.

Monsanto plans to make all operations carbon neutral by 2021.

Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grant says essentially the company wants all of its systems to store, offset or sequester as much carbon as they release.

“When the beginning and the end match up and you are at net-neutrality, that’s the definition of a good day, I think.”

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The coal industry continues to adjust to economic realities. Peabody Energy has announced a deal to sell assets in Colorado and New Mexico, while Arch Coal is suggesting that a bankruptcy filing may be in order.  Tracking the sector can be a challenge, so we have put together a snapshot of some major players and their ties to the St. Louis region.

Courtesy of the Illinois Farm Bureau

Hopefully you got your fill of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. It may be your last until next fall.

Canned pumpkin supplies are expected to run out after the holiday. This year’s yield was down by about half in Illinois, where 90 percent of the crop for canned pumpkin is produced.

Provided | Arch Grants

The St. Louis business incubator founded to attract and keep entrepreneurs in the region seems to be delivering on its premise.

The majority of Arch Grant recipients are staying in St. Louis after the year-long requirement that is a condition of the $50,000 grant.

Granite City Steel Mill
Davd Schaper|NPR

Updated at 1 p.m., November 24, 2015, to include comments from a union representative:

Dave Dowling, the sub district director for the United Steelworkers union, says he doesn't expect to know the date of the plant's idling for about two weeks.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

An 86-mile stretch of levees along the Mississippi River was a source of hand-wringing from Alton to Columbia, Illinois, back in 2007.

Now local officials speak with pride about the work to improve the levee system.

The teen area of the newly renovated Indian Trails library branch, which is reopening on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015.
Provided | St. Louis County Library

Some St. Louis County library patrons may soon have to temporarily switch branches. The library system is in the process of opening or re-opening six locations while closing another five for renovations.

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