Excerpted from the St. Louis Career Guide
Straddling the juncture of the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers, St. Louis has long been a leader in transportation and logistics. The Greater St. Louis area, which comprises 2.8 million people in 16 counties, lies smack in the middle of the country, in the Central Standard Time zone, making it a natural distribution hub for the region’s slew of manufacturers.
The current unemployment rate in the Greater St. Louis area is 7 percent, down from 8.4 percent the same time last year. This is lower than the national unemployment rate of 7.8 percent, but higher than Missouri’s 6.6 percent. St. Louis’s relatively low unemployment rate is deceptive, however, as its labor force has actually shrunk in response to lack of employment opportunities.
The bioscience industry, and its various subsectors, is carving out a niche for itself in St. Louis with the help of local post-secondary institutions, investment capital and area businesses. BioSTL, formerly the Coalition for Plant and Life Sciences and composed of members from civic, academic, scientific and philanthropic backgrounds, recently formed bioGenerator to nurture biotech startups. So far, it has funded 28 new seed- and pre-seed-stage startups, and its programs have supported the creation of 17 new bioscience companies.
Finance and Banking
St. Louis’s financial services sector also is growing. Recent numbers show financial sector jobs in the region have risen nearly 85 percent over the past five years. Some of the growth is attributed to recent hiring by local brokerages Stifel Financial, Edward Jones and Scottrade. Others point to a national trend where lower wages and tax incentives in smaller cities, such as St. Louis, are attracting growth in securities-industry employment, while older financial hubs such as New York City continue to stumble following the recession. Today, more than 166,000 locals work in accounting firms, banks, insurance companies, investment firms and real estate companies.
Transportation and Logistics
Location is everything when it comes to transportation and distribution. St. Louis is in the relative center of the United States, and 90 percent of North Americans live within 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers) of the city. In addition, St. Louis sits at the confluence of three rivers (the Mississippi, the Missouri and the Illinois), seven interstates and six major railroads (Burlington Northern Santa Fe, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and Canadian Northern). Greater St. Louis has two Foreign Trade Zones and more than 10,000 acres of Foreign Trade Zone sites. St. Louis has the second-largest inland port by tonnage in the country; it handles more than 24 million tons of cargo each year, including petroleum, chemicals and grains.
This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 75 pages of information in the complete St. Louis Guide.