Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is approaching so let me start with a baseball analogy. In the Triple Crown of economic indicators (state Gross Domestic Product-GDP, state GDP per capita, and total employment), Missouri is nowhere close to being an All-Star. In fact, it is struggling to just stay in The Show.
In all three indicators, Missouri compares poorly to other states and the country. According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Missouri under-performs when compared to the U.S. as a whole in all three categories. Missouri ranks 48th out of 50 states in state GDP growth, 45th in per-capita real GDP growth, and 45th in total employment growth. In fact, when one compares Missouri with the three best and three worst performing states for each indicator, Missouri’s performance nearly mirrors that of the bottom three states (and in the case of state GDP, Missouri IS one of the bottom three performing states). Missouri’s troubles also cannot be blamed on the most recent economic troubles. Over a period spanning from1997 to 2010, Missouri consistently under-performed the national average and was close to the bottom in all three indicators.
Considering how Missouri is ranked relative to the rest of the country, the question should be asked, “How about a new line-up?” The Show-Me Institute has conducted research on ways Missouri can improve its economic standing. Given Missouri’s current situation, how much worse can the state do if it considers implementing some of these suggestions?