Missouri Department of Economic Development Director attributes Missouri's ability to economic growth to a rededication to economic development and the governor embracing the need for change.

Rob Dixon, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development was the guest speaker at the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) board meeting. Dixon updated the board on the restructuring of the department and how the agency is now able to truly focus on economic development. He also discussed workforce issues, broadband and opportunity zones.  

Dixon further highlighted the change in Missouri’s economy since the restructuring. Missouri has gone 38 consecutive months below the national unemployment rate average and 32,000 jobs have been created in the last year alone, according to Dixon. Missouri has gone from 14th to fourth in the Midwest states for Gross Domestic Product growth and has become the number one state for foreign direct investment. Dixon attributes this ability to economic growth to a rededication to economic development and the governor embracing the need for change. 

In reference to broadband, Dixon discussed the work the department is doing with the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the $5 million state grant program. These grants should be available in early December and awards will be made before spring. 

The MRPC board also approved the appointment of Laurel Boisonault from Washington County to the board as representative for small business, and reviewed the board’s state priority choices that will be taken to the state capital in January, at the meeting.