17 April, 2018
tight labor market in St. Louis has caused average hourly wages to exceed $27
per hour, the highest level on record. The 9.1 percent increase from this time
last year is the largest annual gain in all available data. While unemployment
has been falling for several years in St. Louis, the labor market has grown at
a much slower pace. Since 2013, the labor force has expanded by 10,000 people.
During the same period, employment grew almost seven times faster (66,000).
This has kept unemployment below 4.0 percent for six months, the longest streak
since the dot com era. These conditions are pushing employers to get more
competitive when hiring new employees, in turn raising wages.
construction industry in particular is having a hard time filling positions.
The recession 10 years ago drove people away from the industry, and it is still
trying to recover. In the most recent Federal
Reserve Beige Book, contacts
in St. louis reported labor shortages in construction, technology, and