Relative to the U.S. average, consumer spending in Missouri has more quickly returned to January 2020 levels. At the end of March — the lowest spending point since the pandemic began — Missouri household spending had dropped 35% compared with January. By June 17, households spent nearly as much as they did in January. Spending has rebounded the least among high-income households, as total spending is still 8% lower than in January. Consumers have continued to most restrict spending on restaurants, transportation and arts, and entertainment.

Self-employment becomes more important during periods of economic uncertainty. In light of the recession caused by COVID-19, many more Missourians may pursue self-employment as a means to create their own jobs or earn supplemental income. Trends in nonemployer establishments show where individuals find opportunities to earn extra income or create their own jobs.

Most small Missouri businesses (83%) were open in early July, based on credit card transaction data from This is slightly more than the 80% U.S. average. The fewest Missouri small businesses were open in mid-April, and the number rebounded by late May. Open businesses decreased slightly in the second week of July — possibly due to renewed COVID-19 health concerns.

Consumer spending began declining in mid-March before Missouri issued its stay-at-home order, suggesting safety perceptions and not business closures were driving consumer behavior. Consumers restricted spending in July, reversing earlier gains, but have since increased spending in August. Analyzing purchases by an area’s average household income shows spending has rebounded the most among high-income in the past month. Consumers have continued to most restrict spending on arts and entertainment, and transportation reshaping these parts of the economy.

Older business owners and workers play an increasingly important role in our economy. Nationally they represent one in three business owners and start 25% of all new firms. Private-sector workers aged 55 years and older represented 23% of Missouri’s 2019 labor force, and held the most jobs in health care.

The University of Missouri Extension and Missouri SBDC have recently joined efforts to specifically provide support to agri-businesses through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. MU Extension Agriculture and Environment specialists, MU Extension agricultural economists, and Missouri SBDC have recently combined expertise and resources to better serve Missouri agriculture. The partnership is formally known as the Missouri SBDC for Agriculture, Food, and Forestry.

Online job posting trends show new weekly postings declined sharply in late March. New job postings are rising, but they are not yet back to their pre-pandemic levels. For instance, in the week ending Sept. 5, 2020, Missouri had 13,350 new job postings—down roughly 13% from mid-February. These trends are consistent ...

Missouri small business revenue has begun to recover since COVID-related disruptions this spring, but how has overall firm financial health changed? Business cash on hand is one measure to watch from the weekly U.S. Census Pulse Survey.

In the first 40 weeks of 2020, Missouri had 5.9% more applications filed to start new businesses likely to hire paid employees than it had in 2019’s first 40 weeks, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The 2020 new business application filing rate through early October bested the same period’s average from 2017 to 2019, despite COVID negatively affecting application filings earlier this spring.

Many businesses are considering new ways to increase sales as COVID-related impacts reduce revenue. The use of retail e-commerce has grown over the last couple decades, but recently saw a jump of nearly 5% as consumers shifted to more online shopping.

Missouri households started to increase their spending faster than the average U.S. household beginning in early April. Household spending has continued to be more robust in the state than the broader U.S. throughout the summer. Data suggest that in the past two weeks, Missouri households are again restricting their spending. Areas with high median incomes show the largest drops, suggesting safety perceptions and not financial ability may be driving consumer behavior.

The share of open Missouri small businesses has averaged 79% in recent months, but heightened COVID-19 concerns in November may be causing some firms to close again. A continued weakening of local consumer spending could force some businesses to close permanently if this trend continues.

Missouri’s unemployment rate has declined to a pandemic-era low 4.6%, but the effects of the pandemic on Missouri’s workforce are not being felt equally across the state. Declines in labor force participation and employment, and increases in unemployment.

In 2019, Missouri had a $328.4 billion economy, the nation’s 22nd largest. GDP growth within Missouri is uneven, but the state’s largest metro areas drive its economy. This brief highlights recent GDP growth trends, and the economic contributions made by different counties throughout the state.

A recent U.S. Census survey showed that 27% of Missouri small businesses expect to need financial assistance in the next six months, driven largely by COVID-related economic disruptions. Small business financial health has varied widely throughout the past year, rising throughout summer then falling in the fourth quarter. Financial health may improve in the coming months, however, given the passing of an additional federal COVID-related stimulus bill.

For the week ending Jan. 3, 2021, Missouri household spending was 4% less than in January 2020. Despite lower household spending, Missouri consumers are re-entering stores at a more similar rate to last year than the U.S. average.

Migration is an important regional dynamic, as in-migrants represent new customers for businesses, new taxpayers for municipalities and new workers for local employers. This brief examine Missouri’s overall migration trends.

Relative to 2019, Missouri had 10.6% more applications filed in 2020 to start new businesses that would likely hire paid employees, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The 2020 new business application filing rate bested the 2017-to-2019 average, despite COVID-19 negatively affecting filings early in 2020. By early August — week 31 — total business applications had surpassed the prior three-year average.

The number of Missourians receiving unemployment benefits spiked in April 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic shook the economy. Since then, it has steadily declined. Although rates remain elevated, several factors point to positive hiring trends to come.

Missouri nonmetro residents have less access to primary care physicians than their metro counterparts. In 2018, metro areas contained 30 more primary care physicians per 100,000 people than nonmetro areas.

The last year has been challenging for business but our team of professional business advisors and coaches are passionate, knowledgeable and dedicated to our communities. We're excited to share our team's amazing accomplishments in this new 2020 Annual Report format.

In 2020, Missouri had 841 food and beverage manufacturers that employed nearly 47,500 workers. It ranked 13th among all states for employment in these businesses. Food and beverage manufacturing jobs have tended to concentrate in Missouri’s major cities, along the I-70 corridor and in the southwest corner of the state. In Missouri, top employers in food and beverage manufacturing include Anheuser-Busch, Conagra, General Mills, Gilster-Mary Lee, Kraft Heinz, Nestle Purina, Schreiber, Smithfield, Tyson and Triumph Foods.

A recent U.S. Census survey showed that 24% of Missouri small businesses have increased their use of online platforms since the pandemic began. Data suggest that much of the increase in businesses’ online presence occurred near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teenagers fill many restaurant and summer hospitality jobs, but downward trends in the number and participation of younger workers is adding to staffing challenges. Learn trends about youth workers and get tips for engaging them in the world of work.

In 2019 U.S. broadband adoption was 30 percentage points or more below broadband availability levels in urban and rural counties.

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