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Local leaders optimistic about economy

Charlie Dooley.
Charlie Dooley.

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – Regional leaders say they're optimistic about the prospects for economic growth in 2006.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and executives from three surrounding counties outlined their expectations at a forum in downtown St. Louis Tuesday.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley says a $2 billion investment in that county last year alone is helping to attract or retain 25,000 jobs.

Despite the loss of several Fortune 500 companies in recent years, Dooley remains upbeat about mid-sized firms:

The mid-sized companies are extremely important to us, Dooley said. If they expand their base, that will attract the Fortune 500 companies. By plan and design we can continually position St. Louis County for future growth.

Last year, Pfizer announced it will build a new research facility in Chesterfield and pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts plans to move its headquarters to North St. Louis County.