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Columbia has fastest growing economy in Missouri

10th and Elm in downtown Columbia
KBIA File Photo

The US Bureau of Economic Analysis issued rankings showing Columbia as the fastest growing economy in Missouri.

The results are based on Columbia metro area’s GDP which represents the total amount of goods and services produced in the area. It ranked 97th out of 381 metropolitan areas in the United States, beating Missouri’s largest cities Kansas City and St Louis. Kansas City ranked 122nd while St Louis was 186th.

This illustrates the well-being of the economy in the Columbia area, which is in part due to local businesses. David Maxwell, the owner of the new Bread Basket Café, said, “I think our business is growing, and I think our customers are happy. There are always things to work on, but overall I think we’re doing OK.”

Regional Economic Development, Inc.’s Executive Vice President Bernie Andrews says that such good results were not surprising.

“Columbia has been a pretty stable economy over the year, with MU being the economic driver," Andrews said. "And then our health care is a very strong segment of the economy, and so that keeps us stable. And then we had some new companies coming to the market like IBM.”

Columbia Chamber of Commerce President Matt McCormick said he hopes that such good economic results will give incentives to new businesses to come to Columbia and create new jobs. He said he “also hopes to attract local businesses, take the businesses that are currently here and continue to grow them."

"As you know, we’re becoming quite the place to have entrepreneurial growth," McCormick said.  "That’s one of the big missions.” 

McCormick said these results are due to a good mixture between local businesses, higher education and health care. He expects even better results for this year with good reports received from businesses since the beginning of the year.

According to a Bureau of Economic Analysis press statement, Columbia’s GDP rose 4.8 percent to reach $7.1 billion last year, up from $6.7 billion the previous year.

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