ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI--(Marketwire - June 18, 2012) - The Missouri economy is gaining momentum as exports and manufacturing remain strong and the housing market correction was relatively mild, according to the State Monitor Report released today by BMO Capital Markets Economics.
The labor market has improved so far in 2012, with nonfarm payrolls rising in each of the first four months of the year. The pickup in job growth has helped pull the jobless rate down to 7.3 percent in April, the lowest level since the end of 2008.
"Every day, we hear from our commercial customers that they are optimistic about the economic picture in the market," said Dave Warning, Executive Vice President Commercial Banking for M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group. "With our local expertise, sector knowledge and mid-market focus we stand ready to help them find solutions as they invest and upgrade their businesses."
Farmland values continue to rise at a strong pace according to the Fed's agriculture credit conditions survey. Non-irrigated farmland values are up more than 20 percent year-over-year in Missouri in the first quarter of 2012.
Exports rebounded to a record level, up a strong 15.4 percent in the first quarter of the year. Agricultural and food product shipments remain very strong. Ford is investing $1 billion to expand its assembly plant in Kansas City, and GM is also upgrading its Wentzville plant to produce midsize pickup trucks.
Said Dr. Sherry Cooper, Chief Economist, BMO Financial Group, "The housing market remains soft in Missouri with home prices still drifting down. However, the downturn has been far more subdued than in many harder-hit regions of the country." In St. Louis, the month's supply of existing homes available for sale was 3.5 in the first quarter, well below the national average. The state foreclosure rate, while elevated by historical norms, remains low by comparative standards.
BMO Financial Group announced in 2011 that the company is making an additional $5 billion in business credit available to support the U.S. business-led recovery.
The full State Monitor report can be downloaded at www.bmocm.com/economics.
About BMO Financial Group
Based in Chicago, BMO Harris Bank N.A. provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 650 branches and approximately 1,350 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with 1,600 branches, and a retail deposit base of approximately $180 billion.