Career Center

New industries in St. Louis are helping to fuel Missouri’s rise in employment opportunities.


Story By Deborah Johnson
Visuals By R.J. Hartbeck

Good news for local graduates — career-focused website Zippia recently compiled a list of the top 10 states for jobs, and Missouri ranks seventh overall. For its report, Zippia used data on salaries, company financial health and employee diversity to develop its rankings.

According to Zippia, Missouri has an unemployment rate of 3 percent and a median income of $54,126. Zippia went on to add:

If you are interested in working in a state with a state park called Ha Ha Tonka, this is the place for you. Missouri is filled with great places to find new jobs like St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia.

It’s great to see Missouri’s place on this list, and we need to acknowledge the role St. Louis has played in helping the state get there. According to the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Report created by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, St. Louis ranks highly in jobs in education, healthcare and financial services. There is also a strong manufacturing presence thanks to Boeing, Anheuser-Busch InBev and the General Motors plant in Wentzville. In addition, nine Fortune 500 companies are located in St. Louis.

But St. Louis is also seeing growth in other industries, such as ag-tech. The region is home to the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, the Missouri Botanical Garden, Bayer, Bunge North America and Novus International, among others. According to the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, there are more than 400 research and development ag-tech companies employing more than 15,000 people across the St. Louis region.

More than 400 research and development ag-tech companies employ more than 15,000 people across the St. Louis region.

Moreover, St. Louis is becoming a hub for geospatial activity. The new NGA site, called Next NGA West, is jointly managed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Air Force. According to Next NGA West, “The project will feature an approximately 712,000 square foot office building, parking garages, visitor center, inspection facility and access control points.”

In addition to Next NGA West, the advanced technology incubator T-REX has partnered with Bayer to create Geosaurus, a geospatial innovation space located at the T-REX headquarters downtown. And geospatial firm Esri recently announced that it plans to add more jobs in St. Louis.

For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, the St. Louis region is a great place to start a business. There are annual funding competitions like Arch Grants and stARTup Creative Competition, as well as numerous coworking spaces and OPO Startups, an innovation space for entrepreneurs and creatives. St. Louis also is a wonderful place to live in general, with Magnify Money ranking the region as sixth in the nation for offering a balanced lifestyle, thanks to low housing costs and short commute times.

Geosaurus, a geospatial innovation space, is coming to the T-REX advanced technology incubator in downtown St. Louis.

St. Louis also is a fast-growing region for video game development, with companies like Graphite Lab, Pixel Press, Volcano Bean and Terrifying Jellyfish, plus the region is home to the PixelPop Festival, an annual independent game conference and expo.

The employment future will continue to look bright for St. Louis because of an investment in workforce development at all levels. From east to west, the region has universities, community/technical colleges, apprenticeships, internships, specialized skill learning organizations like Claim Academy, and other professional development opportunities. St. Louis also is investing in connecting immigrants to employers and cultural opportunities through resources like the International Institute St. Louis and the St. Louis Mosaic Project.

For recent graduates launching their careers, entrepreneurs working on business plans or experienced professionals wanting to make a move, St. Louis is the place to be. The affordable cost of living along with investments in a variety of sectors with an emphasis on professional development means there’s something in St. Louis for everyone.

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