Long a significant manufacturing hub for a wide variety of goods and services, the St. Louis region has steadily grown the technology, automation and computerization needed to support the advanced manufacturing sector, from Boeing to Anheuser Busch. With both national and global manufacturers operating here, advanced manufacturing businesses in the St. Louis region export billions of dollars of goods and services each year, helped in part by our central location and exceptional transportation infrastructure. These companies benefit from a low cost of doing business, access to reliable and cost-effective energy, virtually unlimited water capacity, and exceptional telecommunications resources.
Regional advanced manufacturing strengths include products related to beverages, leather, printing, petroleum and coal, chemicals, primary metals, machinery, and transportation equipment. All are supported by an intricate infrastructure of public and private higher education institutions and community colleges, state and local workforce development agencies, and the regional business community.
Exported by St. Louis in 2020
in the St. Louis metro, comprising over 8% of private employment
for St. Louis’ new nonprofit Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center
Advanced Manufacturing Regional Strengths
Aerospace and National Security
The birthplace McDonnell Aircraft Co., the St. Louis region today is home to a major Boeing manufacturing facility, which just announced an expansion, and Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, headquarters for the global U.S. Transportation Command. In 2020, the air transportation, aerospace manufacturing, and support industries regionally employed more than 22,000 people at 130 organizations.
With a long history in auto manufacturing, the St. Louis region is home to a General Motors plant that has produced more than 2.5 million full-sized vans since 1995. In 2019, the company invested $1.5 billion in the plant, expanding to 4,000 jobs. The sector also includes precision tools and machine manufacturing, auto parts suppliers, and vehicle body and trailer manufacturing.
Consumer Goods Manufacturing
Within this sector, companies ranging from Anheuser-Busch to Bunge Ltd. to Procter & Gamble produce and export goods from manufacturing centers located in the region. Others like Post Holdings Inc. house their research and development efforts at global headquarters here, benefiting from the area’s central location.
From major multistate oil and gas utilities Ameren and Spire to companies like Philips 66, with a local refinery, the St. Louis region keeps things running. Ameren alone has nuclear, coal, gas, and hydroelectric generation capacity.
Manufacturing and Production
Chemical, electronics and machinery manufacturing all take place in the St. Louis region, where wages are competitive, the workforce is robust, and colleges and universities offer a wide range of manufacturing and engineering programs.