On Thursday, October 27th the St. Louis County Economic Council released Jobs For The Future, St. Louis Regional Economic Adjustment Strategic Plan – Impact of Closure of Fenton Chrysler Plant. with a presentation at Washington University.
This report focused on the economic, fiscal, and real estate impacts on the 16 county St. Louis Metro Area. Recommendations for future growth are also offered. This study is an interesting and surprising read but I wanted to relay some of the information that caught my eye.
According to economist Chris Brewer, the Chrysler closure was ” a defining moment for this region.”
- Since 1997, the region has lost nearly 20.000 direct automotive jobs, severly limiting the biggest industrial sector in the area. The Chrysler closure, including both indirect and direct jobs, accounted for over 43,000 lost jobs.
- Since the closure and recession 25,000 fewer vehicles pass in front of the Chrysler site than in 2007 – a testament to the diminished economy.
- Although manufacturing employment is a modest share of tltal Regional employment, output per worker is more than five times greater than in the services sector. Higher output per worker is driven by greater integration with suppliers and supply chains, with each step adding value to the manufacturing process.
Most importantly, and a point with direct ties to a local issue:
One of the recommendations for future growth was – “to explore how the Region’s available supply of fresh water and considerable logistical connections can be used to grow a more vertically integrated food processing sector.”
Did the Franklin County Commissioners just vote to endanger our water supply, drinking water, and the very liquid asset that will be needed for this area’s economy to grow and prosper?