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Economic Outlook 2011

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Welcome to Springfield Business Journal’s 2011 Economic Outlook edition. This edition is built around Greene County’s top employment sectors, based on data from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

It’s impossible to talk about the economy – or economic recovery – without taking into account the employment landscape.

MERIC’s data encompasses average employment and weekly wages, total wages and number of firms, with health care and social assistance leading the way with 28,616 jobs for second-quarter 2010,  the latest period for which data is available. Other top sectors are government, retail, accommodation and food, and manufacturing.

While many of Greene County’s top employment sectors showed job decreases between the second quarters of 2009 and 2010, there were some bright spots.  Both the health care and social service category and the government category, which includes public education services, grew by nearly 400 jobs. And the accommodation and food services sector added more than 700 jobs.

Interestingly, even the construction sector, which has been particularly hit hard by the recession, maintained its No. 8 spot on the list, with more than 5,100 local jobs, down from 5,700 in second-quarter 2009.

This year, the SBJ editorial team chose to take a closer look at the county’s Top 5 sectors asking five businesspeople to share their insights with us.

We asked these industry leaders to talk about factors that influenced their employers leading into 2011, their expectations for 2011 and where they see opportunities for growth.

Challenges these business leaders face, and the lessons they’ve learned during trying economic times, just might spur ideas for entrepreneurs and professionals to engineer the results they want to see for themselves.

—Maria Hoover, features editor
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