Missouri’s economy is growing, but not as fast as the country’s economy overall. That’s according to Joe Haslag, an economics professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He said the U.S. economy grew by 2.5% last year, while Missouri’s grew by only 2%.

“We have not seen sort of the things that we think are primary engines of growth,” Haslag told Missourinet.

He said some sectors of Missouri’s economy are strong – namely mining, logging, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality. But the Show-Me State lags behind most of the country in high-tech and information-based jobs.

“Our average annual growth rate has been somewhere, among the 50 states, somewhere around 45th to 48th depending on when you measure in terms of our growth rate,” Haslag said. “So, we’re lagging, no doubt.”

He added that Missouri does not have a high-tech driver along the same levels as Silicon Valley in California or Route 128 in Massachusetts.

“Over the past couple of decades, I think we’ve recognized that Missouri has been growing slower relative to the rest of the country,” Haslag said. “I think that there are well intentioned politicians who are trying to subsidize certain industries to try to get them to grow and those subsidies are being utilized, but it’s not showing up in sort of fundamental strengths.”

He suggested that politicians should focus on creating incentives for high-tech companies to relocate to Missouri, but also said doing so would require a long-term approach that would not likely yield results “overnight.”

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