Economy & Business

The civilian labor force in North St. Louis County stood at 198,698 workers in 2010 with an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent. This rate was significantly lower than the 10.6 percent rate for the St. Louis metropolitan statistical area. The lower unemployment rate is a reflection of the high levels of education attainment and overall competitiveness of the labor force in North County.

North County also features a diverse and thriving business community with establishments distributed across several industry sectors. The two largest sectors are retail trade along with health care and social assistance, which includes services for family, youth, and persons with disability. Despite a clustering of establishments in the above sectors, a strong manufacturing base is being maintained in the region. North County maintains a strong presence of businesses across other sectors such as: professional, scientific, and technical services. Food services, construction, finance and insurance, transportation and warehousing are other trades of prominence in North County.


The top ten industry sectors for the number of establishments for all of the St. Louis County is almost identical to the top ten industries in North County with a few key differences. Variations of note are that health care and social assistance is stronger in North County compared to St. Louis County. Manufacturing also is a little stronger in North County and is the 11th largest sector for the county. The county-wide number for finance, insurance and real estate are a little stronger than North County. North County has stronger wholesale trade and other service sectors and are led by retail and health care and social assistance establishments.

In addition to being one of the largest sectors of employment, health care and social assistance was one of the fastest growing sectors posting a 9 percent growth rate over the last decade. Although these industries account for a smaller percent of all business establishments, information management of companies and educational services also saw substantial growth.


Education Services and health care both showed tremendous employment growth over the last decade. As of 2010 these industries employed over 40,000 workers. There also is a broad employment base in manufacturing, which is anchored by Boeing Defense Co, and Emerson Electric Co. All other non-agriculture sectors posted significant employment numbers further diversifying workforce employment.


Employment by occupations mirrors the great diversity shown in employment by industry. Management, business, science and arts along with sales and office occupations account for 58 percent of employment. Services, production, transportation, and material moving account for the next largest percent of occupations in North County.

*Data provided by Public Policy Research Center at UMSL