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The latest news from every corner of the state, including policy emerging from Missouri's capitol.

Parson’s Numbers Touting Missouri’s Economy Have Mixed Value, Experts Say

Missouri Governor Mike Parson addresses senators and an audience gathered in the view gallery during his State of the State address on Wednesday, January 27, 2021, in the Senate Chambers of the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City.
Daniel Shular
/
Special to St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri Governor Mike Parson addresses senators and an audience gathered in the view gallery during his State of the State address on Wednesday, January 27, 2021, in the Senate Chambers of the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson often repeats some numbers designed to promote Missouri’s economy as healthy and vibrant.

But not all of those numbers have the same level of reliability, experts say.

“We’re now seventh in the United States of people wanting to come to our state. We’re in the top 10 for businesses wanting to come to the state of Missouri,” Parson said last week as he signed a bill that allowed for the collection of sales taxes on online purchases and also lowered the state’s highest income tax rate.

Those statistics come from U-Haul and Site Selectors Guild, said a spokesperson for the governor.

Rankings from companies or associations may not be accurate, said Max Gillman, economics professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

“I don’t know how U-Haul computes these measures, and so, of course, the actual statistic and how it’s computed would be important,” Gillman said.

According to U-Haul’s website, “growth states are calculated by the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a state versus leaving that state in a calendar year.”

Another moving company, United Van Lines, has a similar ranking based on its trucks. Missouri isn’t in its top 10, and there are only three states that are in the top 10 of both U-Haul and United Van Lines’ lists.

And while Missouri may be a top choice among the Site Selection Guild, it isn’t in the top 10 on Site Selection Magazine’s list.

But there is a statistic that Parson mentions consistently that is widely held as accurate and important: the unemployment rate.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the May unemployment rate in Missouri was 4.2%, lower than the national rate of 5.5% and Illinois’ 7.1%.

“That’s probably the most important statistic, and with Missouri down into the 4 range, that’s very, very good after this pandemic,” Gillman said.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @JonathanAhl

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio

Jonathan is the General Manager of Tri States Public radio. His duties include but are not limited to, managing all facets of the station, from programming to finances to operations. Jonathan grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago. He has a B.A in music theory and composition from WIU and a M.A in Public Affairs Reporting from The University of Illinois at Springfield. Jonathan began his journey in radio as a student worker at WIUM. While in school Jonathan needed a summer job on campus. He heard WIUM was hiring, and put his bid in. Jonathan was welcomed on the team and was very excited to be using his music degree. He had also always been interested in news and public radio. He soon learned he was a much better reporter than a musician and his career was born. While at WIUM, Jonathan hosted classical music, completed operations and production work, was a news reporter and anchor, and served as the stage manager for Rural Route 3. Jonathan then went to on to WIUS in Springfield where he was a news anchor and reporter covering the state legislature for Illinois Public Radio. After a brief stint in commercial radio and TV, Jonathan joined WCBU in Peoria, first in operations then as a news reporter and for the last ten years of his time there he served as the News Director. Jonathan’s last job before returning to Tri States Public Radio was as the News Director/ Co-Director of Content for Iowa Public Radio. During Jonathan’s off time he enjoys distance running, playing competitive Scrabble, rooting for Chicago Cubs, listening to all kinds of music and reading as much as he can. He lives in Macomb with his wife Anita and children Tommy and Lily.
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