Economy & Innovation

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

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

Illinois' unemployment rate fell to 8.7 percent in April, improving for the 15th consecutive month.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security released the new figures on Thursday.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

A new report says Missouri's unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest point in about two years.

The state Department of Economic Development says April's jobless rate was 8.9 percent, down two-tenths of a point from March. That's the state's lowest unemployment rate since March 2009.

Monday's monthly report also shows a net gain of 2,500 nonfarm jobs in Missouri last month. The agency says the biggest growth came in construction, manufacturing and retail trade.

(via Flickr)

Arch Coal Inc. says it's started $14.60 a share tender offer for rival International Coal Group.

Arch says the offer that started Monday expires June 14.

The St. Louis-based coal industry giant agreed to buy ICG for $3.4 billion May 2.

The deal is designed to exploit growing demand for high-priced coal used to manufacture steel. Arch says the combined companies would be the nation's second largest supplier of metallurgical coal.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Two St. Louis-based companies are reporting lower earnings for the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.

(via Flickr/seannaber)

Philip Morris USA and other major tobacco companies won a favorable verdict Friday in a lawsuit filed by 37 Missouri hospitals seeking more than $455 million for treating sick smokers.

Philip Morris USA was one of six tobacco companies involved in the lawsuit.

The hospitals had claimed cigarette companies delivered an "unreasonably dangerous" product and were seeking reimbursement back to 1993 for treating patients who had no insurance and did not pay their bills.

Boeing FA-18 Super Hornet
Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Stephen G. Hale II | U.S. Navy

The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi says that two American makers of fighter jets are out of the running for a multibillion dollar contract for the Indian air force.

The defense arm of one of the two American companies, Boeing Co., is based in St. Louis.

Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin were both bidding for a slice of the $11 billion Indian deal for 126 fighter jets.

A statement from U.S. Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer says that the news from India's Defense Ministry was "deeply disappointing."

(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

Officials at Ameren took questions from shareholders about the utility company's procedures for disposing of coal ash today.

The annual shareholder's meeting was open to all Ameren investors.

Diana Oleskevich works for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.  The sisters are part of a group of five institutional investors calling on Ameren to clean up their coal ash disposal procedures.

Oleskevich says Ameren's claim that its 35 coal ash storage ponds comply with current regulations does not satisfy her concerns.

(via Flickr/KellyB.)

State officials say the March unemployment rate dropped in every Illinois metropolitan area for a record seventh consecutive month.

A report released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security shows that the Rockford metropolitan area with the state's highest unemployment rate, at 13.3 percent. That's almost 4 percentage points lower than the same time last year.

The Kankakee-Bradley metropolitan area March rate was second-highest, at 12.7 percent.

Other metro areas with jobless rates over 10 percent were:

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Peabody Energy Corp. says its profit rose in the first quarter due to higher prices for Australian coal used in steelmaking and increased demand in the U.S.

The world's biggest private-sector coal company says its net income attributable to common shareholders was $176.5 million, or 65 cents per share, in the January-March period. That's up from $133.7 million, or 50 cents, a year earlier.

St. Louis-based Peabody says first-quarter revenue rose 15 percent to $1.74 billion from $1.51 billion the previous year.

St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 2:05 p.m. April 12, 2011:

Reuters has now updated its story to indicate that a buyout is not in the plans:

Germany's BASF SE (BASFn.DE) has no plans to buy global biotech seed company Monsanto Co (MON.N), sources with knowledge of the situation said on Tuesday.

Rumors that a buyout was imminent sent shares of Monsanto Co (MON.N) up as much as 4 percent while shares of BASF, the world's largest chemical maker, fell 2.8 percent to 62.59 euros.

via Flickr/KellyB.

A new report says Missouri's March unemployment rate fell by three-tenths of a point to 9.1 percent.

Monday's report from the state Department of Economics also says Missouri employers added a net of more than 24,000 jobs last month.

The hospitality and leisure sector had the biggest gain, adding about 6,300 jobs, while retailers added 5,800 jobs. Other notable increases were construction, with 4,200 jobs added, and business and professional services, up by 2,700 jobs.

(via Flickr/Seabamirum)

The "Mancession" of 2009 is finally giving way to a "Mancovery." But the jobs picture for women is going in the opposite direction.

Check out this feature about gender asymmetry in the jobs "recovery" from our own Adam Allington. It aired on Marketplace Morning Report today.

(Chiodini Associates, architects, and AxiOme, design consultant)

Want to see more images of the new building's design? Check out a full gallery on Posterous.

Groundbreaking has been set for St. Louis Public Radio and the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ new home in Grand Center.

The public radio station’s general manager, Tim Eby, confirms that work will begin on the site just east of KETC public television on Friday, April 15. The three-story, 27,000-square-foot building is expected to take one year to complete.

(via Flickr/_J_D_R)

Next Tuesday, St. Louis City voters will vote on Proposition E.  If the proposition passes, the city will retain its 1 percent earnings tax.  If the proposition fails, the tax will be phased out over the next ten years.  Supporters and critics of the earnings tax disagree on many things, including how the tax affects the economic vitality of the city and how prominently the tax figures into people’s decisions to live or work in St. Louis.  But many agree on this: no replacement for the earnings tax is in place and a transition to any combination of alternatives could prove painful.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 5:09 p.m. March 28, 2011 with additional reasons for leaving the board:

The St. Louis Business Journal reports other reasons for Busch's departure:

"For personal and health reasons August Busch IV has decided not to seek re-election at the annual shareholders meeting," A-B spokeswoman Marianne Amssoms said.

As updated 3:30 p.m. March 28, 2011:

The former CEO of Anheuser-Busch Cos., August A. Busch IV, will be leaving the board of Anheuser-Busch InBev following the annual shareholders' meeting, Bloomberg News reports:

The world’s largest brewer will ask investors on April 26 in Brussels to approve Olivier Goudet, chief financial officer of Mars Inc., and Paul Cornet de Ways Ruart as directors for a four-year term, according to the convening notice published on the company’s website. Goudet and Cornet will replace Jean-Luc Dehaene and Arnoud de Pret on AB InBev’s board, which will have 12 members following the departure of Busch.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, via the Associated Press, reports that the move is unrelated to the negative publicity surrounding Busch since the death of his girlfriend from a drug overdose late last year.

Busch's board seat was always considered a courtesy after Anheuser-Busch was sold to InBev in 2008, as InBev's board went to 13 seats from 12 previously. It will now revert to 12. Busch's term had always been scheduled to end next month, the newspaper said.


(via Flickr/Bernt Rostad)

"Chicago's Craft Beer" is the tagline gracing the top of the website of Goose Island Beer Co., but, with an announcement today involving St. Louis fixture Anheuser-Busch, that tagline of origin may become a little muddled.

(via Flickr/zappowbang)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is citing an Anheuser-Busch InBev can plant subsidiary in suburban St. Louis for several violations after two accidents in which employees suffered amputations.

OSHA said Wednesday that one worker at Metal Container Corp. in Arnold lost fingers in machinery. A second lost a foot in a forklift accident.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated at 1:10 p.m.  March 22, 2011 with comment from Nixon.

Missouri is receiving $27 million in federal money to boost small business growth and job creation.

The State Small Business Credit Initiative supports state-level, small business lending programs and is part of the Small Business Jobs Act signed by President Obama last fall.

(via Flickr/pasa47)

AT&T Inc. is about to become the largest cellphone company in the U.S. The company says it will buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom AG in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $39 billion.

Right now AT&T is the second largest wireless carrier, behind only Verizon Wireless. AT&T expects its acquisition to take a year to close.

(via Flickr/Daniel Leininger)

Data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics brings both positive and negative information to light about unemployment in the St. Louis Mo. - Ill. Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Some areas of industry gained jobs, while others lost, and, though the unemployment rate for the area in January 2011 was slightly higher than the national average, total employment in the area has gone up slightly over the past year.