Economy & Innovation

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

In a matter of weeks - if not days - the Pentagon will announce whether Chicago-based Boeing Co. or European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company will build 179 new tankers to replace the Air Force's Eisenhower-era KC-135 planes.

It's a $35 billion contract to build nearly 200 giant airborne refueling tankers. And the decade-long brawl by two defense industry titans to win it has been just as epic.

American Airlines is recalling 200 flight attendants who were furloughed from now-defunct TWA in 2003.

American said Friday it also agreed to hire 30 new Mandarin-speaking flight attendants to staff flights to and from Shanghai.

_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.

If he doesn't re-sign with the St. Louis Cardinals, first baseman Albert Pujols could set off a bidding war to end all wars. Pujols reportedly wants to be baseball's first $300-million-man.

Check out Adam Allington's story for Marketplace Morning Report.

Canada, Mexico and China are the top customers for Missouri goods in an export market that jumped 36 percent in 2010, the St. Louis Business Journal reports.

The data reflecting the jump is from the World Trade Center St. Louis.

Tim Nowak, executive director at the World Trade Center, says the growth was driven primarily by industrial products and manufactured goods.

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.

(via Flickr/Fergus Randall)

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.

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.

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