State sees healthy business growth in '03

Saturday, May 15, 2004

By Kelvin Simmons


Department of Economic Development

JEFFERSON CITY -- Missouri's business climate is strong and vibrant. We have been touting that fact for more than a year and a recent study completed by our department's research division provides further evidence to support that statement.

During 2003, there were 14,930 new businesses created in Missouri, an average of more than 1,200 a month. Even more impressive, the new businesses represented almost 100 different industries. Eleven of Missouri's major industry sectors accounted for more than 500 of the new business formations reported in 2003.

This range across industry sectors demonstrates the great economic diversity we have in Missouri. With all of these industries experiencing growth, that means we are not reliant on any industry in particular.

Of the industry sectors, one defined as "other services" reported the most new business formations with 3,443. This sector includes such industries as private household businesses, personal services, and repair and maintenance businesses.

Construction, which includes various specialty contractors, was the second largest, with 2,039 new businesses reported. The third largest industry sector with the most new businesses was professional, scientific and technical services with 1,388.

The report also showed that the new business growth was spread throughout the state. Every county in Missouri had multiple new business formations in 2003. The areas reporting the highest levels of new business formations were concentrated in metropolitan areas. St. Louis County reported the most new business formations with 2,493; Jackson County had 1,559; St. Charles County had 709; Greene County had 641 and the city of St. Louis 620.

Though we expect the highest levels of new business to come from the metropolitan areas, we found that counties outside the metropolitan areas had new business formations ranging from 50 up to 300 for the year. We were pleased with these significant gains.

Specifically, Boone County in central Missouri, Jasper County in southwest Missouri, Clay County in the Kansas City metro area and Jefferson County in the St. Louis metro area all boasted new business formations ranging between 301 and 500.

Other areas with significant gains include the counties of Cape Girardeau, Butler, St. Francois, Adair, Buchanan, Cass, Platte, Camden, Christian, Taney, Newton, Cole, Phelps, Franklin and Washington. All of those counties had business formations in 2003 ranging between 101 and 300.

In 2002 the state of Missouri had a record number of businesses operating. It is very likely that record of 155,973 was broken during the past year because of the large number of new businesses that were started. We will not know for sure until this summer when our annual census count of businesses is completed.

We are quite excited about the long-term implications of these new businesses on our economy. New businesses lead to new jobs and help build a foundation for sustained economic growth in all parts of Missouri. This growth in new businesses provides further evidence that our state's economy is fundamentally strong, that jobs are being created and economic growth is occurring.

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