While residential construction remains strong in suburban St. Louis, Kansas City and Minnesota, this region is wrestling with severe cutbacks in the aerospace industry. Wichita, Kan., was hit hard by layoffs at Boeing, Bombardier, Raytheon and other manufacturers of passenger aircraft.

Boeing's layoffs in the St. Louis area also made headlines, although some of those jobs may return soon to service Boeing's new $4.5 billion contract to build F-15 fighter planes.

Office construction in the region is also weak, with Minneapolis' vacancy rate at 12 percent downtown, and nearly 14 percent in the suburbs. According to the most recent Grubb-Ellis report, St. Louis has the strongest office market, with vacancy rates of only 9 percent downtown and 11 percent in the suburbs.

ELECTRICAL WHOLESALERS' SALES
(in millions of dollars)
EW Estimates
Final 1998 Final 1999 Final 2000 Final 2001 Forecast 2002 Forecast 2003
West North Central 3,480.0 3,819.3 3,768.2 3,657.6 3,719.1 3,887.3
Iowa 491.8 503.7 497.0 482.4 490.5 512.7
Kansas 359.7 385.0 379.8 368.7 374.9 391.8
Minnesota 1,259.3 1,358.0 1,339.9 1,300.5 1,322.4 1,382.2
Missouri 1,004.7 1,182.1 1,166.2 1,132.0 1,151.0 1,203.1
Nebraska 149.0 155.0 152.9 148.4 150.9 157.7
North Dakota 88.7 97.0 95.7 92.9 94.5 98.7
South Dakota 126.7 138.6 136.7 132.7 134.9 141.0
EMPLOYMENT STATISTICS
Actual EC in thousands
M F/S/RT G
West North Central 57,695 1,405.0 5,217.1 1,650.2
Iowa 8,180 247.2 755.2 250.2
Cedar Rapids MSA 1,566 20.3 65.0 11.6
Des Moines MSA 2,373 23.3 180.5 37.8
Dubuque MSA 262 10.4 29.0 4.0
Iowa City MSA 316 5.5 33.5 28.4
Sioux City MSA 309 14.3 33.5 7.8
Waterloo-Cedar Falls MSA 302 14.7 36.6 10.8
Kansas 7,529 201.2 680.7 254.3
Lawrence MSA 337 5.5 25.1 14.3
Topeka MSA 596 9.6 58.0 22.2
Wichita MSA 1,862 67.7 136.3 35.8
Minnesota 16,616 411.1 1,452.8 412.0
Duluth-Superior MSA 684 7.8 65.2 23.1
Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA 11,677 260.8 971.2 241.5
Rochester MSA 447 11.1 60.6 8.0
St. Cloud MSA 493 17.3 49.2 12.6
Missouri 16,546 362.3 1,459.4 425.7
Kansas City MSA 6,597 101.9 559.0 141.4
St. Louis MSA 8,360 170.2 759.7 155.5
Springfield MSA 860 20.9 98.1 22.2
Nebraska 4,987 113.3 485.2 160.3
Lincoln MSA 869 17.2 82.0 36.0
Omaha MSA 2,748 37.1 253.3 53.4
North Dakota 1,710 25.8 173.8 71.7
Bismarck MSA 311 3.4 30.5 10.6
Fargo-Moorhead MSA 753 8.5 61.0 14.2
Grand Forks MSA 324 3.7 25.0 11.6
South Dakota 2,180 44.1 210.0 76.0
Rapid City MSA 455 3.8 33.8 7.1
Sioux Falls MSA 624 13.0 76.1 11.2
NA — Not available
MSA — Metropolitan Statistical Area
PMSA — Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area
CMSA — Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area
EC — Electrical contractor employees. Actual numbers.
M — Manufacturing employees in thousands.
F/S/RT — Commercial accounts (finance, services, retail trade) employees in thousands.
G — Government employees in thousands.