Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 12, 2009 - Ford in Hazelwood and Chrysler in Fenton may be sad parts of Missouri's automotive past, but a new task force is working to figure out how to make a happier future.

Named by Gov. Jay Nixon in March as the cloud over the domestic auto industry began to darken, the Automotive Jobs Task Force is looking at ways to keep the plants that Missouri still has and to market the state to attract and develop whatever production may become available.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 12, 2009 - I took a bullet in the hand while working on a story for the Suburban Journals, but this did not stop me from falling victim to the economy and being laid-off.

I am the lone surviving victim of the Kirkwood City Council shootings on Feb. 7, 2008. I was a reporter covering what I thought was an ordinary city council meeting. That changed when Charles Lee "Cookie" Thornton killed five people that night. Mayor Mike Swoboda, who was also injured, would later die.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 9, 2012 - A new survey measuring the economic mobility of Americans at the state level suggests that climbing up the ladder is more likely in certain pockets of the country than in others.

According to a new report by researchers from Pew’s Economic Mobility Project:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 8, 2009 - In good times, Gateway Regional Medical Center is Granite City's third-largest employer, but recent layoffs in the steel industry have bumped the 950-employee facility into first place -- a distinction CEO Damon Brown noted during a recent interview.

The hope is that the move-up in the rankings will be short-lived.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 8, 2009 - AmerenUE says it is keeping its application to build a nuclear power plant alive while it considers all of its options, but it is keeping a tight lid on what those options are.

Last month, when it became clear that its effort to have ratepayers pay for financing the multibillion-dollar facility would not succeed in the Missouri Legislature, AmerenUE CEO Thomas R. Voss said the utility "is suspending its efforts to build a nuclear power plant in Missouri."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 8, 2009 - Finance professors often tell students that stock markets are efficient. That is, stock prices reflect all available information, dutifully parsed by millions of investors until they collectively arrive at some price for some company’s stock. If all news is expected, stock prices do not react too much. If the news is unexpected, prices swing.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 7, 2009 - After going through a legislative labyrinth, the Missouri Legislature acted late Thursday to approve a federal stimulus bill that includes $12 million in one-time aid for the St. Louis area's financially troubled Metro transit system.

The bill, HB22, now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, where a spokesman said earlier Thursday that the governor remained concerned about the bill's $381 million price tag and "will review it very closely."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 7, 2009 - What a prize they would be today, that bat and baseball autographed by the St. Louis Cardinals and presented to Ed Hagnauer, now the mayor of Granite City, and his brother during an outing to Busch Stadium in 1964.

The big names were all there: Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Tim McCarver, Mike Shannon ... the entire team that would go on to win the World Series that season. Yes, that ball and bat were special mementos, courtesy of then-Cardinals infielder Dal Maxvill, who grew up in Granite City.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 4, 2009 - So much has been said and written about managing young people in the workplace that it's hard for a speaker to address the subject without sounding clichéd or spreading stereotypes. Benjamin Akande, dean of Webster University’s School of Business and Technology, manages to pull it off, thanks to his reliance on original research and a heavy dose of humor.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 1, 2009 - One line in the stack of documents filed by Chrysler Corp. in its bankruptcy case caused a lot of anguish and confusion in Fenton on Friday.

There, on page 45 of Exhibit 52 , item 12, came the news that snuck up on the autoworkers union, Mayor Dennis Hancock and others who have suffered with the ups and downs of the Chrysler assembly plants in recent years.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 1, 2009 - Last hired in, first to be laid off.

That was the reality for a group of laid-off United Steelworkers who were furloughed during the first wave of steel industry cuts in Granite City last November. Their job now is to guide 2,000 of their colleagues to agencies and programs that can help them write resumes, sign up for training programs or find emergency financial help with their utility bills or groceries at local pantries.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 30, 2009 - On April 16, the Missouri House of Representatives passed HJR 36 . Dubbed the "Fair Taxation" bill by its sponsors, the legislation as it now stands is anything but fair to Missouri's taxpayers, particularly those in the middle-class and those less well off. HJR 36, if passed by the Senate, provides for a constitutional amendment that would replace the state corporate and individual income taxes with a vastly expanded sales tax.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 30, 2009 - The day after U.S. Steel announced worse-than-expected first-quarter losses, Russ Saltsgaver, 51, was in a third-floor office at the Tri-Cities Labor Temple in Granite City, giving one of his last media interviews as president of United Steelworkers Local 1899.

Union members last week elected a new leader; Dan Simmons takes office in May.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 30, 2009 - Mary Klein of Manchester and Jane Suozzi of Ballwin are just the kind of riders Robert Baer, president and CEO of Metro, fears the agency will lose because of its recent service cuts.

As Metro was slashing 44 percent of its bus and train service last month, Baer warned that the cuts, necessitated by a $70 million budget shortfall, could have far-reaching effects on ridership. Even if a new funding source were found, Metro might fail to draw back some of its former customers, especially commuters forced to find other travel options, he said.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 30, 2009 - How are things in Granite City?

It's a question that Mayor Ed Hagnauer gets asked frequently these days -- largely because of the 2,000 steelworkers laid off in recent months from U.S. Steel's Granite City works. Their plant may be idle, but not so the members of the local United Steelworkers union who have captured national attention with "Put America Back to Work" rallies in support of President Barack Obama's stimulus package and fair trade.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 29, 2009 - For many MetroLink riders at the Clayton station on a recent morning, the cuts Metro made a month ago are little more than a slight inconvenience as they waited a few extra minutes for their train.

Commentary: How much reform can Springfield take?

Apr 29, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 26, 2009 - Federal Judge James Zagel denied our impeached governor a shot at reality television in Costa Rica, but those who booted him will have the opportunity to test their own survival instincts in Springfield.

Can lawmakers satisfy the thirst of a reinvigorated anti-corruption movement without diluting the nectar of their incumbency? The answer may determine how much of their reform rhetoric is real and how much is, well, show business.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 28, 2009 - Though U.S. Steel's first-quarter losses are far worse than analysts had predicted, a local union official Tuesday encouraged 2,000 laid-off steelworkers from the Granite City plant not to panic.

Russ Saltsgaver, president of United Steelworkers Local 1899, said that U.S. Steel should be able to weather the economic storm because it is the first time the corporation has lost money in the last five years.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 28, 2009 - When you think of places known for their information technology workforce, Silicon Valley and Seattle come to mind. Clustering prominent software and social media companies is a major draw for innovative start-ups and high tech workers.

What about St. Louis?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 27, 2009 - U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., is unveiling today what he calls a "Yellow Light on Green Jobs" report that "highlights areas where environmental and labor advocates admit green jobs mean massive taxpayer subsidies, lower wages and killing existing jobs..."

Bond says the report is in reaction to President Barack Obama's "Earth Day economic promises and a slew of congressional hearings held by Democrats on the potential of new green jobs."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 24, 2009 - Last summer, the Mississippi River flooded, overwhelming earthen levees along its banks. Spring showers and the anticipated revision of a federally drawn flood map refocus attention on the health of the protective structures that safeguard area homes and businesses within the river's reach.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 24, 2009 - The Missouri House recently took an ambitious step toward improving the state's economic competitiveness. House Joint Resolution 36 calls for a popular vote in 2010 to repeal the state's income, corporate and estate taxes. This amendment of the state constitution would, as a number of studies show, improve Missourians' economic well being.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 23, 2009 - Stymied by a lack of movement on legislation it pushed in Jefferson City, AmerenUE today said it is abandoning its plans to build a second nuclear power plant in mid-Missouri.

President and CEO Thomas R. Voss told a news conference at AmerenUE headquarters that the company is asking legislative sponsors to withdraw bills that would have allowed customers to be charged for finance costs for the $6 billion plant.

Decline in national youth volunteer rate

Apr 23, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 23, 2009 - In the same week that President Barack Obama signed into law a substantial increase in national service opportunities, there’s fresh evidence that volunteer rates have decreased nationally among high school-aged students. Just not in Missouri. However, according to the study from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, far fewer of the state's college-aged students are giving their time.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 23, 2009 - WASHINGTON - The defense budget hasn't even been released yet -- that's scheduled for mid-May -- but already the administration's intentions are drawing close scrutiny, most vocally from members of the St. Louis-area congressional delegation worried about local jobs and national security.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 22, 2009 - The Shakespeare Festival has announced internal restructuring that includes the resignation of artistic director Dawn McAndrews and a nationwide search to fill a newly created executive director position. The Festival will not seek a replacement artistic director.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 20, 2009 - If the words efficiency, economy, sustainability and diversity could produce electricity, the discussion at Monday's Regional Energy Summit at Southwestern Illinois College could have powered the whole region.

The audience heard from local executives in industries ranging from coal to corn, oil to electricity, along with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, and -- on video, because he had to join President Barack Obama's first full cabinet meeting -- Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former congressman from Illinois.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 17, 2009 - Despite added stresses to its resources brought on by the recession, Wall Street's ailing financial institutions and recent service cuts, the Metro Board of Commissioners today passed a balanced operating budget for fiscal 2010. The $201.97 million budget is for the agency's fiscal year beginning July 1.

The board also passed a $470.99 million capital budget.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 16, 2009 - Property owners in St. Louis County are about to test the theory of gravity and find out whether what goes up will really come down.

Next month, owners of the 365,000 residential properties in the county will receive their preliminary property tax notices. During the last reassessment, in 2007, many bills rose sharply because of rising property values. With today's news filled with the woes of the real-estate market, homeowners could be forgiven for assuming that as dramatically as their bills shot up last time, the bottom line number should drop just as much this time.

Don't bank on local banks to lead economic recovery

Apr 16, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 16, 2009 - There's a chicken-and-egg quality to forecasting the health of St. Louis area banks.

What comes first? Do the banks help the local economy out of the morass of recession? Or do the banks need signs of an improving economy, housing market and employment so they will provide a financial jolt to sustain a recovery?

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