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Examiner
  • Jeff Fox: Less than high marks for Missouri

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  • There’s more evidence of Missouri’s economy being stuck in low gear. The federal Bureau of Economic Analysis has released state-by-state figures for 2013 growth in gross domestic product, and Missouri is at the back of the class.
    Twelve states (counting Washington, D.C.) had growth of less than 1 percent. Missouri came in at 0.8 percent. Illinois was at 0.9 percent, and those two were easily the most anemic among 13 Midwestern states from Kansas to Minnesota to Ohio. Nationwide, GDP growth was 1.8 percent in 2013.
    Nine of the 10 big winners – 3 percent or more – were west of Kansas City, and they tended to be oil or coal states: North Dakota, 9.7 percent; Wyoming, 7.6 percent; Oklahoma, 4.2 percent; and Texas, 3.7 percent.
    States in the interior West – Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana – did well. Two states – Alaska and the District of Columbia – showed declines.
    In that same vein, a “manufacturing + logistics” report card from Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research gives Missouri decidedly mixed grades on a variety of business factors. In manufacturing, for which the center says ratings have much to do with quality and availability of labor force, non-wage costs and access to innovative technologies, the state got a C for the sixth year in a row, and in logistics it got a B.
    There were other C’s – human capital and “global reach” – and B’s – worker benefit costs and “expected liability gap,” that is, adequate funding for future pensions. There were a couple of A’s – tax climate and the diversity of manufacturing – but the state has slipped from a B+ in productivity and innovation in 2009 to a D- in 2014. That’s an area that includes aggressively seeking innovations and inventions from around the world and “access to university laboratories.”
    Homes sales OK
    Metrowide homes sales are holding steady, suggest figures released Tuesday by the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors and the Heartland Multiple Listing Service.
    In May, sales of new homes (272 across nine counties) and existing homes (2,863) were both 1 percent higher than in May 2013. There were a little more than 12,800 homes on the market in May 2013 and again last month, though the mix has shifted a little in favor of new homes. There’s about a five-month supply of homes on the market, which the industry calls balanced, that is, not sharply favoring buyers or sellers.
    In Jackson County, the average new home sold for $331,342 in May, up 14 percent in a year. That trails the regional average of $363,499, up 6 percent from May 2013. Cass County leads the way at $442,499, followed by Johnson County at $429,086.
    Page 2 of 2 - It’s similar with existing homes. Jackson County, at $153,262 in May, is up 6.8 percent but trails the metro average of $177,619. Johnson County leads the way at $255,689.
    Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s business reporter and editor. Reach him at 816-350-6313 or jeff.fox@examiner.net. Follow him on Twitter @FoxEJC or @Jeff_Fox.
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