Held on May 31st, The Freightway Industry Forum welcomed featured speaker Kevin Kliesen, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, who predicted the booming start-up community in the St. Louis area will contribute to long-term economic growth for the bi-state region.
Kliesen addressed the capacity crowd, discussing trends and insights into the manufacturing and transportation sectors at both local and national levels. Honing in on the Freightway’s primary goal of promoting the region as a distribution hub, Kliesen noted he anticipates additional growth in that area for the St. Louis region. He said increased efforts by Walmart and other traditional retailers to compete with industry giants like Amazon are fueling continued development of new distribution centers. That should bode well for our region, where Amazon continues to expand its presence.
With the nation continuing to experience the third longest economic expansion in history, Kliesen drew on in-depth employment and economic output data to illustrate how the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is keeping pace.
Despite a weak first quarter, Kliesen said at the national level, both U.S. and global growth appear to be strengthening; business surveys indicate an increasing number of U.S. firms are planning to boost capital spending; construction activity continues to rise, and while world trade has slowed, U.S. exports are solid. He indicated that the St. Louis region’s economy is also strengthening, but at a slower and somewhat uneven pace.
Kliesen’s presentation, which also includes the most recent figures available related to labor force, employment, household income and more for the St. Louis MSA, is available for download here.
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