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A Broader Regional Perspective

The 14 County region referred as Southeast Missouri by the Missouri Department of Economic Development in their MERIC Data profile indicates little to no economic growth over the last decade when measured by GDP. When you narrow down to the immediate area of Cape Girardeau, Perry, and Scott Counties the last decade has seen about 9% growth, but it’s important to look more closely at the details as we make plans for the future.

Last week Missouri DED Chief Economist Jeff Pinkerton presented a regional economic update for a group of business and civic leaders in Perryville. As Mr. Pinkerton stated in his opening remarks, “Some of the information is positive news, and some of the information is something that may need closer attention.” Topics covered included information on population trends, workforce activity, and overall economic strength.

Of note for the region is the flattening of Economic Growth as measured by GDP. While the numbers indicated that Cape, Perry, and Scott County have increased over the last decade, the details show that the entirety of that growth happened from 2011-2016 while our area GDP rate has been flat over the last 5 years.

This doesn’t mean we should be in panic mode, but instead that now is the time for us to look at broader regional strategies to build and grow throughout Southeast Missouri. The first step is recognizing the current situation and setting a baseline, the next step is Southeast Missouri coming together to work through challenges and grow.