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Missouri is outpacing its neighbors in tech job growth, report finds

The exterior of the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in north St. Louis. Construction moves to the interior of the building and will likely be move-in ready in 2025.
Brian Munoz
/
St. Louis Public Radio
The exterior of the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in north St. Louis. Construction moves to the interior of the building and will likely be move-in ready in 2025.

A new report released by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday finds the state’s technology jobs are increasing at a faster pace than all of its neighboring states.

The Technology2030 report was compiled by North Carolina-based Economic Leadership for the chamber and shows the state’s tech job force grew by 10.5% between 2017 and 2022.

That ranks just 30th in the nation but is higher than all neighboring states including Illinois, which ranks 37th.

Population growth is a big reason for Missouri’s comparatively high ranking, said report co-author Ted Abernathy during a video call Monday.

“For the first time in a while, the last two years has been a time where in-migration, people moving from other states, is more than people moving out of Missouri,” Abernathy said.

The report says Missouri had negative net migration between 2012 and 2019, but that abruptly changed to a net positive in 2020 and 2021.

The St. Louis region is also faring well in technology jobs, according to the report.

St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Charles County all have more than 5% of their jobs in the technology sector. Only eight other counties in Missouri can make that claim.

“In places like St. Louis you have the depth that your higher education can provide you in research. You have more venture capital. You have more concentration of young people,” said Abernathy. “Those are going to be areas where you have real opportunity.”

The St. Louis region has invested in technology sectors like geospatial, agtech and advanced manufacturing over the past several years.

Abernathy said more rural parts of the state have opportunities to grow in areas like tech manufacturing, as long as they’re close enough to airports or major highways.

“We have a long history in manufacturing, and this is a natural evolution of that strength,” said Dan Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a statement. “Many manufacturers today utilize high-tech processes with high-paying jobs. And numerous other employers are technology-based and key contributors to the overall economy.”

Copyright 2024 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Brian Moline