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Springfield: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Principal industries in Springfield include agriculture and dairy farming; trade, transportation, and utilities; educational and health services; government; and manufacturing. The Springfield area is rich in natural resources such as stone, lime, zinc, barium, coal, marble, sand, gravel, and lead. Abundant hardwood forests yield white oak, post oak, black oak, scarlet oak, hickory, maple, and black walnut. Indigenous wildlife include deer, furbearing animals, quail, rabbits, squirrels, doves, and waterfowl.

As an agribusiness center, the city is home to Springfield Regional Stockyards, one of the nation's largest stockyards and feeder cattle facilities. Other agriculture-related firms are creameries, meatpacking plants, and flour mills. Springfield is also a shipping center for poultry, eggs, and milk. Diversified manufacturing comprises nearly one-fourth of the metropolitan area employment base; major manufacturers include Willow Brook Foods, Aarons Automotive Products, Kraft Foods, FASCO Industries (electric motors), Sweetheart Cup Co., and General Electric.

Springfield is a regional hub for retailing and financial services, and is a popular tourist destination. The health care industry employs 25,000 people, or 15 percent of the Springfield area's total workforce, and has an economic impact of more $3 billion. The third-largest retail market in Missouri—sales total more than $3 billion annually—Springfield ranks in the top 170 markets in the nation. Two medical centers, which are among Springfield's top employers, form the basis of the major health care system in the area. As the gateway to the Ozark Mountain country, the city receives millions of visitors each year.

Items and goods produced: flour, dairy products, clothing, paper cups and containers, furniture, plastics, trucks and trailers, iron and steel, concrete products, feed, fertilizers

Incentive Programs—New and Existing Businesses

Local programs

The Springfield Business Development Corporation is the economic development subsidiary of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. It offers competitive rates and reliable service through City Utilities of Springfield, and administers enterprise zone tax credits and abatements through the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The Partnership Industrial Center, which broke ground in 1993, is part of the economic development public/private partnership between the City of Springfield, city utilities, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Springfield Business and Development Corporation. The partnership was formed in 1991 to promote and encourage the retention and creation of quality manufacturing and industrial jobs in the Springfield area. There are 20 companies located in the industrial park, which has currently reached 95 percent completion.

State programs

Programs offered by the state of Missouri that are available to Springfield businesses include enterprise zones, tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds, Small Business Administration programs, state financing incentive programs, and others.

Job training programs

The Springfield Business Development Corporation coordinates customized training programs through Ozarks Technical Community College.

Development Projects

According to the Chamber of Commerce, Springfield is known as Missouri's "economic engine" because in 2004, 25 percent of all new jobs in Missouri were created in Springfield even though the city represents only 3 percent of the state's workforce. Recent development projects include the Jordan Valley Park, which consists of a greenway, a public ice arena, and $1 million waterway, as well as a new expo center. The new expo facility, connected to the renovated Trade Center, results in about 110,000 square feet of contiguous convention and exhibition space. The building can accommodate 280 booths and about 4,400 people, with seating available for 3,000, and 950 spaces available for parking. A former creamery and tobacco warehouse is being converted into teaching, exhibition, and office space for arts groups in the city. This $3 million project is being funded partially through private donations. The new Hammons Field, home to the minor league baseball team the Springfield Cardinals, opened in spring 2004.

Downtown Springfield continues to be a focus for developers. Plans were announced in 2005 for a retail, entertainment, and parking complex for the Market Avenue Redevelopment Area in downtown Springfield. Developers have presented plans for College Station, which would include a six-screen movie theater within an urban entertainment destination complex that would also house restaurants and retail space. The city also plans to build a 450-space, three-story parking deck above 43,000 square feet of first-floor commercial space designed for smaller retailers.

Recent expansion projects at the airport included tripling the size of the baggage claim area, roadway realignment, an expanded long-term parking lot, and construction of an intermodal facility. The intermodal terminal, next to the existing terminal, is reserved for all passengers intending to board motorcoaches, vans, and taxis or planning to rent cars.

Economic Development Information: Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, 202 S. John Q. Hammons Parkway, Springfield, MO 65801-1687; telephone (417)862-5567; fax (417)862-1611; email

Commercial Shipping

Springfield is linked with national and international markets by a network of air, rail, and motor freight carriers. Exporting has become an integral part of the local economy; because Springfield is the site of a Port of Entry operated by the United States Customs Service, national companies can provide customs house and freight forwarding services. Air cargo services are available at Springfield-Branson Regional Airport. Rail transportation is provided by Missouri-North Arkansas and Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway, which maintains an intermodal hub for piggyback trailer shipping in the city. More than 40 trucking companies, many with terminals in Springfield, offer express delivery.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Springfield's population is growing at an annual rate of 2.2 percent. The labor force is described as productive and possessing a Midwestern work ethic, and there is ample access to training and retraining facilities. The metro area's workforce has grown more than 16 percent in the past decade and accounted for more than one-third of Missouri's total job growth in 2004. In addition, Springfield's economic output has doubled in the past 10 years, which makes it the fastest-growing output in the entire state of Missouri.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Springfield metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 183,400

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 8,800

manufacturing: 18,400

trade, transportation, and utilities: 44,400

information: 4,600

financial activities: 11,400

professional and business services: 14,400

educational and health services: 32,200

leisure and hospitality: 17,400

other services: 8,500

government: 23,300

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $11.87

Unemployment rate: 5.1% (February 2005)

Springfield: Economy

Largest employers Number of employees
CoxHealth 9,100
St. John's Health System 7,900
Wal-Mart Stores 4,300
Springfield Public Schools 3,000
Southwest Missouri State University 2,665
Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Marine 2,640

Cost of Living

Salaries are low in Springfield, but so is the cost of living. The American Chamber of Commerce Research Association Cost of Living Index has rated Springfield 8 to 10 percent below the national cost of living average. Housing costs have indexed at nearly 10 percent below the national average and utility rates rank in the bottom 25 percent of those charged in the United States. According to the Greater Springfield Board of Realtors, the average sales price for a home was $135,600 in 2004. Average rent for a single family was around $745 per month.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Springfield area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $195,000

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 88.8 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: graduated from 1.5% to 6%

State sales tax rate: 4.225%

Local sales tax rate: city, 1.375%; county, 0.875%

Property tax rate: $4.5262 per $100 assessed valuation. Assessed valuation is 33 1/3%

Economic Information: Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, 202 S. John Q. Hammons Parkway, Springfield, MO 65801-1687; telephone (417)862-5567; fax (417)862-1611; email Missouri Division of Community and Economic Development, PO Box 118, Jefferson City, MO 65102