ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – There are many signs that the pandemic is easing in St. Louis and around the country, but questions remain about the economic impact left in its wake, especially in the region.
Parts of St. Louis are showing signs of meteoric growth, including a new football stadium in the downtown west and a new apartment skyscraper in the central west. Areas like Cortex continue to show signs of growth and promise in the city’s central corridor. But despite these signs of progress, Saint-Louis still lags behind its peers.
According to Brookings, a leading research group, St. Louis ranks 44th out of 53 major metropolises for overall economic growth.
âCompared to other American subways, you are very decentralized. You have a very weak core, âsaid Bruce Katz, metro growth expert at New Localism Associates. âIf the city is not strong, the metro will not grow.
Greater St. Louis Inc. recently brought in Katz to help create a new vision, known as the 2030 Jobs Plan. It’s 91 pages of in-depth analysis of the St. Louis area, including its highlights. It starts with a clear statement: Saint-Louis must win this decade.
[READ: ’10-year economic plan for region released; ‘St. Louis Metro must win this decade’]
âOur metro has not had an employment plan for over a decade. If you are a company that studies this market, you can tell that they don’t even care about the world they go to. You have to make it easier for decision makers, âsaid Jason Hall, CEO of Greater St. Louis.
Despite sluggish growth over the past decade, Katz was optimistic about the St. Louis area. He said he believed that in 10 years Saint-Louis could be a very different place. Katz says that growing cities often have a common theme, and these regions are often seen as inclusive cities.
The 2030 jobs report reveals a difficult truth about the region. On page 4, it says that the region must âface the painful legacy and the current realities of systemic racismâ.
On page 17, it is written: âIf the black residents of Saint-Louis created and owned businesses at the same rate as the whites of Saint-Louis, the metro would have over 8,000 additional businesses and 66,000 additional jobs.
Katz sees signs of progress, saying, âI think there is a commitment to growing black and Latino businesses and to having more diverse hires that are as strong if not stronger than any other place I’ve seen in the world. United States.”
But Hall said he realizes things won’t change overnight, even with solid short-term progress.
âEconomic development is not won in days and weeks, it is won in years,â he said. âPeople forget that this region has pulled out of the recruiting industry. We didn’t have a team fighting every day for jobs. “
He pointed to the recent announcement of 1,400 high-paying positions at Accenture Federal Services as a recent victory and said more are in the works.
âWe have a few, very close. A major biotech in San Francisco. A manufacturing company that looks our shores, âhe said, adding that his group acts as a concierge to facilitate business navigation in Saint-Louis.
Not only should St. Louis focus on inclusive growth, Katz said St. Louis must also focus on rebuilding its core.
âThe most prosperous metropolitan areas over the past 25 years have built their downtowns and downtowns because they are the places where businesses and investors come together. That didn’t really happen in St. Louis. It’s a dispersed economy, lots of assets but they don’t add up. It’s like two plus two is three, âhe said.
Katz says the region has many strong assets and should focus on strengths like AgTech, BioTech, Geospatial and FinTech.
News 4 asked the town hall to comment on the 2030 employment plan.
A spokesperson said:
âThe mayor saw the plan. She believes we have fallen behind because the divestment in some communities was intentional, but as a big part of the investment in the central corridor. Mayor Jones believes the City should be a better negotiator when it comes to development incentives. The people closest to the problems should be the closest to the solutions, so when we include the people of St. Louis at the negotiating table, we will start to see more robust economic growth and open the doors to more people for no. only find, but also create quality jobs.