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St. Louis' Top 5 Industries Driving Economic Growth in 2024

St. Louis' Top 5 Industries Powering Economic Growth in 2024 St. Louis, Missouri is home to a diverse and thriving business community. From Fortune 500 […]

St. Louis' Top 5 Industries Powering Economic Growth in 2024

St. Louis, Missouri is home to a diverse and thriving business community. From Fortune 500 companies to innovative startups, several key industries serve as the driving forces behind the city's economic growth. Let's explore the top 5 industries powering St. Louis' economy and workforce in 2024.

St. Louis' Top 5 Industries Driving Economic Growth in 2024

St. Louis' Top 5 Industries Driving Economic Growth in 2024St. Louis' Top 5 Industries Driving Economic Growth in 2024

1. Automobile Manufacturing Fuels Job Creation

St. Louis has a rich history as a hub for auto manufacturing dating back over a century. Major automobile plants operated by companies like Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors have long served as pillars of the local economy, providing stable well-paying jobs and catalyzing growth in supporting industries.

These plants continue to be major employers today, with over 130,000 Missouri residents working in automobile manufacturing roles across the state. Ford's Kansas City Assembly Plant and General Motors' Wentzville Assembly are two of the largest auto factories in the region.

 

Recent investments exceeding $4 billion by major automakers demonstrate their continued commitment to the St. Louis region for the long-term. For example, General Motors recently pumped $1 billion into upgrades for its Wentzville plant to boost production of popular pickup trucks. These investments secure thousands of local jobs.

Beyond final assembly, St. Louis also has a robust supporting ecosystem of auto parts and supplies manufacturing. Companies like ABC Technologies, Inteva Products, and Yanfeng Automotive Interiors operate major facilities in the region, providing components like interiors, electronics, and structural parts to nearby OEM plants.

Petroleum products manufacturing is another related sector where St. Louis excels. The city is one of the nation's largest producers of lubricants, waxes, greases, and related oil-based products. Major local companies include Schaefer Manufacturing and Energy Petroleum Corporation.

This dense regional automotive cluster supports extensive local job creation up and down the supply chain in well-paying roles from engineering to manufacturing. Workforce development initiatives help prepare St. Louis residents for careers in auto manufacturing through vocational training programs and apprenticeships.

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2. Higher Education Drives Innovation in St. Louis

St. Louis boasts a robust higher education ecosystem spanning major research universities, community colleges, and vocational schools. These institutions serve as hubs of learning, powering innovation and supplying a pipeline of talented graduates to the St. Louis workforce.

The city is home to prominent institutions like the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Washington University in St. Louis. Washington University is a global research powerhouse, spending over $700 million annually on pioneering R&D. These universities directly support thousands of jobs for educators, researchers, and administrators.

St. Louis' over 10 community colleges specialize in career-oriented vocational training tailored to support key local industries like manufacturing and the skilled trades. Programs in fields like machining, mechatronics, and welding prepare students for well-paying jobs that don't require a four-year degree. Scholarships and grants from the Missouri Department of Higher Education help expand access to these valuable post-secondary credentials.

Local initiatives like the St. Louis Graduates initiative, led by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, aim to increase the number of adults with college degrees and professional certificates. Education promises to remain one of St. Louis’ foremost industries powering future workforce development and economic growth.

3. Healthcare Industry Expansion Meets Patient Needs in St. Louis

Like many American metro areas, healthcare stands as one of St. Louis’ largest and fastest growing industries. The region is home to over 161 licensed hospitals and health systems that provide care to millions of Missouri and Illinois residents. These facilities employ tens of thousands of healthcare professionals including physicians, nurses, technicians, therapists, and support staff.

Leading health systems based in St. Louis like BJC HealthCare, SSM Health, and Mercy Health collectively operate dozens of hospitals, specialty clinics, ambulatory surgical centers, and urgent care facilities. They are investing billions in developing new treatment centers, expanding campuses, and adopting cutting-edge technologies to meet patient needs.

For example, Mercy is building a $43 million specialty orthopedic hospital in Chesterfield while SSM is constructing a $550 million campus in Shrewsbury focused on cancer care and outpatient surgery. These major expansions are creating new healthcare jobs.

St. Louis' nationally-ranked medical research institutions like Washington University School of Medicine also supply healthcare expertise. Partnerships between industry and academia help translate innovative discoveries into new therapies and technologies for patients.

St. Louis' Top 5 Industries Driving Economic Growth in 2024

St. Louis' Top 5 Industries Driving Economic Growth in 2024

4. St. Louis’ Financial Services Firms Offer Exciting Careers

St. Louis has developed into a major hub for financial services, with major firms like Edward Jones, Stifel Financial, Wells Fargo Advisors, and Brown Smith Wallace headquartered in the metro area.

Over 7,900 financial businesses employ more than 84,000 professionals across the St. Louis region in fields like banking, insurance, accounting, and wealth management. Top employers include US Bank, Commerce Bank, Bank of America, and Nationwide Insurance.

The area's deep talent pool, low cost of living, and central location make it an attractive destination for financial services firms looking to expand. Industry leaders point to St. Louis' strong pipeline of graduates in accounting, finance, and economics from local universities as a key asset.

As a growing hub for financial talent, St. Louis offers exciting career opportunities for finance professionals at all levels, from entry-level analysts to managing directors. Employers point to the region's high quality of life, vibrant startup scene, and abundance of arts and culture as major perks.

Businesses across industries trust local IT service providers like NetGain Technologies to securely manage their technology infrastructure and data. NetGain's customized solutions help financial firms leverage technology to improve customer experience and fuel growth.

5. Brewing Remains an Iconic St. Louis Industry

Brewing beer has long been one of St. Louis’ most iconic industries. Anheuser-Busch, founded in St. Louis back in 1852, serves as a historic anchor of the local economy. Their massive St. Louis brewery complex is both an industrial landmark and a major tourist attraction.

While Anheuser-Busch InBev leads the pack in beer production, several craft breweries like 4 Hands Brewing Company, Alpha Brewing Company, and Rockwell Beer Company have emerged to expand the metro area’s vibrant beer culture.

Supporting industries like agriculture, distribution, retail, and hospitality rely on continued beer production in St. Louis. For example, local farming provides inputs like barley and hops to breweries. Trucking and warehousing get products to store shelves. Gastropubs, beer halls, and brewery tasting rooms employ servers, bartenders, and kitchen staff.

Tourism centered around St. Louis' brewing heritage also supports local jobs. Brewery tours and beer-focused events like the St. Louis Craft Beer Week attract visitors from across the Midwest eager to experience the city's beer culture.

Key Takeaways on St. Louis' Top 5 Industries

Automobile Manufacturing Education Healthcare Financial Services Brewing
130,000+ jobs at auto plants Major research universities 161+ hospitals employ tens of thousands 84,000+ finance professionals Anheuser-Busch's legacy facility
$4B+ in new investments $700M+ in R&D spending Billions invested in new facilities 7,900+ financial businesses New craft breweries expanding beer culture
Extensive supply chain Vocational programs Cutting-edge technologies Strong talent pipeline from local colleges Tourism centered around brewing heritage
  • Recent investments signal continued growth and job creation in these 5 key sectors.
  • Businesses across industries can leverage St. Louis' core strengths for talent recruitment, partnerships, and expansion opportunities.
  • Tracking growth in leading regional industries provides strategic insights to inform smart business decisions.
  • Partnering with trusted IT advisors facilitates growth by leveraging technology to improve efficiency, productivity, and customer reach.

For businesses across St. Louis' core industries seeking to expand, partnering with a trusted IT advisor like NetGain Technologies facilitates sustainable growth through technology. Their team of experts stands ready to help companies in St. Louis' thriving sectors optimize IT to reach their goals. With customized solutions scaled to each client's needs, NetGain empowers businesses to unlock new potential for the future.

 

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