(KPLR) – In Monday’s Jacology, Charles Jaco looks at high tech in Missouri and St. Louis.
For the second year running, Missouri leads the country in the percentage increase in technology jobs. Most of that is due to the growing boom in technology start-ups in St. Louis. And most of that is being done in spite of state lawmakers in Missouri who are pushing right-to-work, tax cuts, and more recycled voodoo economics. The tech start-up sector is growing fast for two reasons. One, there’s suddenly seed money available here. And two, it’s a fairly inexpensive city.
First, the money. For years St. Louis finance was run by a handful of fat cat country club bankers. Now St. Louis has more jobs in finance and money than anyplace except Wall Street. The available money to fund start-ups, and the decision making, has been spread around. Then, the cost of living. St. Louis is cheap because; let’s face it, for decades people have been moving out. We’ve got a surplus of real estate. With the AT&T skyscraper downtown and the Millennium hotel tower both vacant, we’ve got too much product and not enough demand.
That makes things cheap. Or at least cheaper than places like San Francisco. And since most start-ups run on a very thin profit margin, low costs are very very appealing. Which means we’ve taken a negative, low demand and middle class flight, and turned it into a positive cheap working and living space for high tech start-ups and their workers.
Now, we just have to keep those folks here. We’re off to a pretty good start at retaining that talent. Now we just have to hope that state lawmaker’s penchant for voodoo trickledown economics doesn’t get in the way.
I’m Charles Jaco, and that’s Jacology.