• Former Gov. Matt Blunt Explains the Importance of the Automobile Industry at Sold-Out Logistics Forum

    Jan 30, 2017

    On Tuesday, January 24, former Missouri Governor Matt Blunt joined a sold-out crowd of 250 guests at the Four Seasons Hotel to give a presentation about the future of automotive manufacturing. However, though Governor Blunt planned on giving his presentation in person, his role as president of the American Automotive Policy Council called him to an unexpected meeting at the White House and he had to teleconference in. Not missing a beat, Governor Blunt began his presentation on the present and future automotive manufacturing industry, and often referenced the St. Louis-area Wentzville plant as a familiar example for the audience.

    The importance of the automotive industry to the United States’ economy cannot be understated. In fact, it is America’s largest manufacturing sector – both in terms of GDP and income. As we have lost low-skilled manufacturing here in the U.S., the importance of high-value manufacturing, like autos, continues to grow.

    To get an idea of just how much impact the automobile supply chain has, consider this:

    • In 2015, FCA US, Ford, and General Motors exported more than 1 million American-made vehicles to more than 100 different foreign markets.
    • The U.S. automotive sector has nearly doubled exports in the last six years (2009-2015) from $74.09 billion in 2009 to $137.66 billion in 2015.
    • According the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 2013 each $1 billion in exports represents 5,600 American jobs.  Based on that, the automotive export level last year supported 771,000 American jobs.
    • Thus, automakers support 2.44 million workers in the U.S., suppliers are responsible for 3.16 million more, and dealers are responsible for another 1.65 million. Grand total: the U.S. auto industry supports 7.25 million US jobs.

    While Governor Blunt presented on the automotive industry gave specific examples of actions being taken to improve American manufacturing by members of the American Automotive Policy Council (AAPC): FCA, Ford, and General Motors.

    AAPC members produce more vehicles in the US than their competitors, have more plants in the U.S., use more US parts in their cars and trucks, and employ over 45,000 workers in the Detroit suburbs at their R&D facilities. It’s not surprising that AAPC members base 6 times more of our global workforce here – and employ 2 out of 3 US autoworkers.

    When you think about just how much automakers matter to our economy – and those 7.25 million jobs they support in the US, please remember this. Three of the 15 global automakers competing in the US support 2 out of 3 of those auto jobs.

    Governor Blunt made himself available for audience questions which ranged from what automotive manufacturers were doing to engage a young and diverse workforce to how Brexit would impact US trade.

  • Study Validates Greater St. Louis’ Competitive Business Costs

    May 16, 2016

    Greater St. Louis is known as an affordable place to live.  However, information on St. Louis’ competitive business costs are less well-known.

    KPMG Competitive Alternatives is a biennial comparison of business costs and other location factors for larger U.S. and international metro areas.  Competitive Alternatives 2016 compares business costs in 10 countries including at least one city in each U.S. state.  “The study examines 26 individual cost factors that are likely to vary significantly by location." 

    Greater St. Louis has a low overall cost index of 96.1 (the four largest U.S. metro areas = 100).  This makes us the 9th least expensive of the U.S. large international metro areas (over 2 million in population) in the report.

    The report also reviews costs for several types of business operations.  As illustrated in the table below, St. Louis’ business costs are below the U.S. cost index of 100 for all of these business types.  St. Louis has a significant cost advantage in R&D and corporate operations.

    Business Type

    St. Louis

    Digital – two types of software development and production


    R&D – combination of biomedical research, clinical trials, and electronics design and testing


    Corporate – combination of financial services and shared accounting, IT, and call center services


    Manufacturing – combination of 12 different types of manufacturing


    This report, like the cost of living index, does not include data on taxes.  Taxes vary widely based on location, assets, income, spending, and other factors that are difficult to meaningfully average for a metro area. 

    St. Louis’ business costs are very competitive, especially for a large metro area.  Competitive Alternatives provides important standardized data to businesses on cost factors by location and business type.  This data is valuable for business site location decisions and validates St. Louis’ competitive business costs as a key strength of the region.