Wage Growth Climbs in St. Joseph

As many employers can attest, with the tight labor market the past several years, wages have gone up, especially for skilled labor positions. The St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce recently received some data that offers some historical perspective and context in terms of where Buchanan County stands compared to other counties in the state.

Out of 115 counties in Missouri, Buchanan County ranks number nine, with an average annual wage of $45,012, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. Not surprisingly, most of the counties ranked higher are urban counties around Kansas City and St. Louis.

Over the last 10 years wages in St. Joseph have grown by 30 percent. The national average over this time was 23 percent and for Missouri it was 24 percent. The Kansas City area wage growth was 21 percent. For October this year, the average hourly wage rate for St. Joseph ranked fourth behind St. Louis, Kansas City and Columbia. St. Joseph’s job growth has outpaced Springfield and Joplin, cities with which St. Joseph is often compared.

The unemployment rate in October 2019 was 2.3 percent, in comparison to 9.0 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The wage growth in St. Joseph is a product of a continued tight labor market, but also greater demand for skilled labor in many of our local companies,” said R. Patt Lilly, President and CEO of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce. “This includes manufacturing and production jobs that make up over 20 percent of our workforce.”