In Case There Were Any Doubts About The ‘Growth Corridor’ We’re In, Here’s Another Data Point
Today, Show-Me Institute Research Fellow Rik Hafer wrote in the St. Louis Beacon about a recent CNBC business survey and how Missouri did. The result: Missouri ranked just on the bottom half of the list in 26th place. Now, “about average” wouldn’t be so bad normally, but as we’ve noted before, Missouri finds itself near the epicenter of the Midwestern growth corridor — where “average” simply isn’t good enough. CNBC’s survey demonstrates the existence of the corridor yet again.
The top four states in CNBC’s survey are right in the middle of the growth corridor: 1. South Dakota, 2. Texas, 3. North Dakota, and 4. Nebraska. And make no mistake, not all of these states were always ranked so high. As far back as 2008, Nebraska’s CNBC ranking was tracking closely with Missouri’s. But then . . . it wasn’t. Nebraska moved into the top five nationwide; meanwhile, Missouri fell further behind. Kansas is always cited as a reason Missouri should be working hard to make itself more attractive to business, and that remains an obvious argument. But Missouri’s economic problems do not begin and end with Kansas, as the Nebraska example bears out. A broader picture of the region that includes only our immediate neighbors should also concern Missourians: Of the eight states that border Missouri, only two are ranked worse — Illinois and Kentucky, both on Missouri’s eastern border.
Now as we always note, your mileage will vary with these surveys, but as Hafer notes, when just about all of them are showing basically the same thing, it makes Missouri’s economic problems all the more clear.
Should we care about such surveys[?] When they converge, yes. CNBC’s ranking corroborates Forbes magazine’s 2013 ranking analysis that placed Missouri at 29. And a report from CNBC earlier this year showed that using data from the National Association of Manufacturers, Missouri did not even make the list of 20 states with the highest manufacturing job creation since the end of 2009. Notably, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky and Tennessee all made the list.
Will Missouri continue down a path of mediocrity? It will unless its leaders — both political and business — grapple with those issues over which they have some control to change in a manner that enticed businesses to start or relocate to our state. Education and tax policies seem like a good place to start the discussion.
Missouri has been headed in the wrong direction for far too long. It’s time to change course.