Desired Trend


Current Trend

Baseline (2010): 1,117,934
Current (2017): 1,160,460

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 1.16 million in 2017. FTE employment fell by almost six 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 continued to increase, but the average hours worked per week declined, resulting in about 1 percent decrease in FTE from 2015 to 2017. Since 2010, FTE employment increased 4 percent but, the region experienced a decline of about 9,500 FTE jobs over the last two years. The increase in employment from 2010 to 2017 (42,500) was accompanied by a decline in working age population (50,770)3 and a reduction in the number of unemployed workers (87,099).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. Despite recent growth, as of 2017 the St. Louis region is down almost 22,000 full-time equivalent jobs since the beginning of the recession in 2008; a decrease of 1.8 percent.

Among the largest 50 metropolitan regions in the country, St. Louis has the 20th largest number of FTE employees. These 50 regions account for 58.9 percent of the 126 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