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St. Louis in the middle on regional economic performance

By Rachel Lippmann

St. Louis – A new report from the Brookings Institution shows St. Louis following national trends when it comes to most measures of economic performance.

The Metro Monitor looks at categories like unemployment, housing prices, and the number of homes in foreclosure in the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas. St. Louis falls in the middle of the pack in most of those areas. John Posey, the lead researcher at the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, said the data aren't surprising.

"We didn't stake our bets on unsustainable growth and so we haven't seen as much as the bottom falling out as some of these other areas," he said, though he said the region, after years of mid-level performance, may fall behind when the national economy picks up.

One area where St. Louis performed worse was in the value of goods and services produced. The region's gross metropolitan product dropped one point five percent this quarter, compared to an average national drop of less than a percent.

"Job loss has been pretty average," said Alan Berube, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "But the jobs that St. Louis has lost had a significant effect on the total size and total output and total income of the St. Louis economy."

Regional economists, including Posey expressed some skepticism with the gross metropolitan product number, calling it difficult to measure accurately.