Community Focus Report

Business & Economic Development

Area Wages Rising — But So is the Cost of Living

Wages have improved since the 2019 Community Focus Report, but the Springfield area's median wages remain below those of St. Louis and Kansas City, according to the Community Focus Report’s business white paper (pdf) released Monday, Sept. 20.

Average wage growth, 2016-19Wages in Greene County increased 10.2% from 2016 to 2019, more than the 9.9% growth rate in St. Louis County and the 8.7% rate in Jackson County (Kansas City). But the 2019 median household income of $46,086 remained below St. Louis County ($67,420) and Jackson County ($55,134.) [United States Census]

Meanwhile, the area’s cost of living has risen slightly above St. Louis’s, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research. For 2020, the average for Springfield was 88.6 (100 representing the national average), while St. Louis was 88.0. Kansas City was higher, at 95.2.

Cost of Living

The need to address wages to help with hiring remains a Red Flag in the 2021 Community Focus Report.

But the area's strong education system was identified as a Blue Ribbon in the report, especially the investments by Ozarks Technical Community College in skill-specific training for area employers. Those opportunities should help workers move up the income scale, experts believe.

This year, the Community Focus Report—the biennial report card of strengths and challenges in Springfield and Greene County—is releasing detailed white papers focused on the 11 key areas ahead of the printed report, which will be released on Oct. 21.

The full list of Blue Ribbons and Red Flags for business is available in the white paper (pdf).

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