SIKESTON - With personal income on the rise, things look good for the local economy.
Figures presented at a recent economic conference on the Southeast Missouri State University campus show Scott County broke the billion dollar mark in personal income in the second quarter of 2004. For the first quarter of this year, Scott County is projected to be at $1.02 billion and New Madrid County is at $412 million.
For comparison, Mississippi County was projected to hit $301 million this quarter; Pemiscot, $430 million; Stoddard, $696 million; and Cape Girardeau should be at $1.99 billion.
Ed Dust, director of the Sikeston Department Economic Development, said reaching and passing the billion dollar milestone for personal income is pretty significant.
"The important thing about personal income increasing in our area is this means we will also have an increase in net retail sales, thus benefiting the economy in a very positive way," said Dust. "If people make more money, they're going to spend more money."
Dust noted retail sales figures show economic growth as well.
"From the second quarter of 2004 to the third quarter of 2004, we jumped $4 million in sales in Scott County," Dust said. He noted these figures do not include revenue from Wal-Mart and the River Birch Mall which contributed to New Madrid County's sales increase of $1.3 million during the same period.
Dust said employment figures from the Workforce Development for this area show unemployment at 7 percent, down .5 percent from January. March figures are not in yet but should be even lower, Dust predicted.
He noted Poplar Bluff is at 6.5 percent unemployment. "They're supposed to be the leading edge so we're not so far behind," he said.
These statistics and projections all indicate there are more paychecks in this area, "and that's what economic development is all about," Dust said. "If people don't have a job, they're not spending money."
Dr. Bruce Domazlicky, director of the Center for Economic and Business Research at the Harrison College of Business on the Southeast Missouri State University campus, said figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis are usually a couple of years behind but can be used with some reliability to make projections like those presented at the conference.
Domazlicky said the Center for Economic and Business Research's latest economic newsletter, the Spring 2005 edition, predicts continued economic growth and projects personal income will reach $1.05 billion this year in Scott County.
On the Net:
Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov
Center for Economic and Business Research: http://www6.semo.edu/cebr