Desired Trend


Current Trend

Baseline (2010): 1,120,203
Current (2019): 1,194,926

Theme Prosperous


Number of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs

Why is it Important?

Employment in the region is a key indicator of economic vitality and social well-being. Higher employment indicates that the skills of the local workforce match the skills required by the jobs in the region. The employment rate must be analyzed in conjunction with the unemployment rate and population growth, since an increase in employment is more valuable to the local economy if it outpaces working age population growth1 and is accompanied by decreases in the unemployment rate.

How are we Doing?

FTE employment2 increased in the St. Louis region from 1.12 million in the baseline year (2010) to 1.19 million in 2019. FTE employment fell by almost 6 percent from 2008 to 2009, followed by a slow increase over the following six years (average annual increase of about 0.8 percent). Over the last two years, the aggregate number of non-farm workers has continued to increase and has been accompanied by a slight increase in the average hours worked per week. This resulted in a 2.8 percent increase in FTE employment from 2017 to 2019. Since 2010, FTE employment increased by nearly 7 percent, with an additional 75,000 FTE jobs.

This increase in employment from 2010 to 2019 was accompanied by a decline in working age population (76,278)3 and a reduction in the number of unemployed workers (92,640).4 This indicates that the increase in employment was not offset by a growth in working age population or weakened by an increase in unemployment. The St. Louis region now has about 10,000 more full-time equivalent jobs than at the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008, about 1 percent more  jobs. This is the first time the  than annual number of full-time equivalent jobs in St. Louis has been higher than in 2008.  

Among the 50 most populous metropolitan regions in the country, St. Louis has the 20th largest number of FTE employees. These 50 regions account for 59 percent of the 129.8 billion FTE employees in the United States. St. Louis accounts for about 1 percent. St. Louis ranks 26th for FTE Employment per 1,000 people, which is about in the middle of the peer regions.

Geographic Level

St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). View map.


1Working age population is defined as residents between the ages of 16 and 64.

2Full-time equivalent employment includes all non-farm workers in the region (all private and public sector employees). Full-time equivalency is determined by multiplying the number of employees by the average number of hours worked per week by private employees and dividing by 40 to convert to a standard 40 hour per week full time schedule. Average hours worked per week is not available for public employees, and is assumed to be the same as private employees.

3American Community Survey (B23001), United States Census Bureau

4Local Area Unemployment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics


Data Sources

Current Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics