Employment on the rise in St. Charles County

2012-11-05T13:30:00Z 2013-05-16T15:20:18Z Employment on the rise in St. Charles CountyBrian Flinchpaugh bflinchpaugh@yourjournal.com stltoday.com

Business investment and employment are on the rise in Wentzville, indicating some recovery from the recession.

And state statistics indicate more St. Charles County residents have work this year, though the job increases are modest.

Wentzville officials say there has been $415 million in business capital investment in the city this year and 2,075 full-time jobs created, though most of those jobs will be filled later as a result of the $380 million expansion under way at General Motors' Wentzville auto assembly plant.

The numbers reflect business confidence in Wentzville, said Larry Tucker, the city's marketing and business manager.

“When businesses sink these kinds of investments in a community, you can be sure they've done their due diligence to make sure they can operate there profitably,” Tucker said in a news release from the city.

Mayor Nick Guccione said his top goal this year has been to attract jobs. "For a city of 29,000 to see over 2,000 full-time jobs added is incredible," he said.

GM's investment, which may eventually generate 1,600 jobs, is the largest of those listed in the city's news release. The new $23 million Sam's Club, which opened Oct. 30, employs about 200 full- and part-time associates.

A $6 million Marriott Fairfield Inn is expected to add 25 jobs; an expansion of Robert's Marketing may add 200 jobs; and a $2 million Ross Dress for Less store may generate 37 jobs. A new Panda Express restaurant is adding seven jobs, and the Carpenter's District Council is investing $3 million in expansion of its facilities and adding six jobs.

Employment also is up in other cities and in St. Charles County overall. Numbers from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center show the county's unemployment rate was 5.8 percent of its labor force in August and September, down from 7 percent in September 2011. St. Charles County's September 2012 rate also was lower than the 6.2 percent in St. Louis County and 6.4 percent in Jefferson County.

An estimated 187,261 people out of St. Charles County's estimated workforce of 198,791 were employed in September, compared to 185,428 in January.

In the two years prior to and at the start of the recession, the county's annual average employment was 185,643 in 2007 and 185,282 in 2008.

Scott Drachnik, vice president of business development and marketing for the Economic Development Center of St. Charles County, said last week the county appears to be back in the 187,000 jobs territory. There appears to be a growth trend of about 2,000 to 3,000 jobs countywide from 2007-2008 to 2012, he said.

In Wentzville, an estimated 13,526 residents were employed in September, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

There has been some ebb and flow in those numbers this year, but the number of Wentzville residents with jobs was estimated at 13,393 last January. The city's unemployment rate was about 6 percent in September.

In the city of St. Charles, an 34,365 residents were employed in September, up from 34,028 in January. In St. Peters, 28,626 had jobs in September, compared to 28,346 in January. O'Fallon, the county's largest city, had about 40,235 residents employed in September, up from 40,050 in September 2011.

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