Business Climate

Leading Employers

In recent years, the St. Louis region has seen a boom in agriculture, life and plant sciences, and technological startup companies locating to the area due to the added value of easy access to St. Louis Lambert International Airport, major highways, and rail service.

North St. Louis County is home to some of the largest employers in the region such as Express Scripts, Boeing Defense, Space and Security, World Wide Technology, Emerson Electric Company, and SSM Health. Boeing and SSM Health are ranked in the top five largest employers in the surrounding fifteen county area.

In the medical and life science sector, North St. Louis County has the headquarters of Express Scripts, a Fortune 100 company which is the largest prescription benefit organization in the United States, and two of the top five largest life science organizations, The University of Missouri-St. Louis and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.

In manufacturing, Emerson Electric Company, a Fortune 500 company which produces a variety of electrical equipment and provides electrical services, is headquartered in Ferguson. SKF, GKN Aerospace, Silgan Plastics, and other notable manufacturers are located throughout North St. Louis County.

With the increase in sectors such as Healthcare, Bioscience, Transportation and Logistics, and Manufacturing, the St. Louis Region has seen a substantial growth in jobs needed to fill the workforce currently in demand. Businesses are looking towards North St. Louis County as a viable, convenient location due to abundant industrial space and a skilled workforce.

North St. Louis County could benefit greatly with the potential for large numbers of workers to relocate to the area. Such growth potential comes from the fact that the majority of employees who work in North St. Louis County do not live in its geographical boundaries. Roughly five percent of employees who work in North St. Louis County also live there. Central location, a variety of amenities, affordable and quality housing, as well as an easier commute to work are all benefits of living in North St. Louis County that workers currently commuting from outside the area could use to consider relocating.

Other major companies located in North St. Louis County include: Bunge North America, an agribusiness company and the leading processor of soy in the United States; Centene Corporation, a Fortune 500 multinational healthcare company; Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, a biotechnology and life science corporation; DRS Technologies, Inc., a company which provides integrated products to military forces and intelligence agencies; Edward Jones, a financial services company; GKN Aerospace, an aerospace components manufacturer; Patheon Biologics, an pharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing organization; and World Wide Technology, a company which provides supply chain services with a focus on the commercial, public, and telecom service provider sectors.

Tax Rates

Missouri has a flat corporate tax rate of 6.25 percent. The combined sales tax rate for St. Louis County is 7.113 percent; the state of Missouri sales rate of 4.225 percent and St. Louis County’s rate of 1.638 percent.1 The average combined sales tax rate for North County is slightly higher than the County average at 8.01 percent.2 Personal property tax rates in North St. Louis County range from zero to 2.69 percent, with eleven municipalities that have no personal property tax at all.

Retail Business

Small firms with one to four employees account for 59 percent of total firms in North St. Louis County. Small businesses are taking advantage of North County’s ideal location and booming industries.

Annual payroll in North St. Louis County in 2014 was nearly $7 billion ($6,905,803,000). From 2009 to 2014 annual payroll decreased 16 percent. Payroll totals have been influenced by the economic conditions resulting from the financial crisis in 2008. However, recent development in new key industries have helped spur economic growth which will translate to increased payroll growth in the near future.