The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center has newly released data that once again underline the connection between staying in school and earning a good paycheck.

The median wage for full-time workers in Missouri last year was $860 a week, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means half made more, and half made less. Missouri’s unemployment rate for the year was 4.3 percent.

A high-school diploma makes a difference. The median income for those without a diploma was $493 a week, and joblessness in that group was 8 percent. That goes to $678 a week and 5.4 percent for those with a diploma.

That correlation – more pay, less likely to be out of work – goes straight up the line. “At each increasing level of educational attainment, unemployment rates steadily decline,” MERIC says.

For workers with some college but no degree, the figures are $738 a week and 5 percent, then $798 and 3 percent for those with a two-year degree. A four-year degree brings a big jump: $1,137 and 2.8 percent. Add a master’s degree: $1,341 and 2.4 percent. For a doctoral degree, it’s $1,623 and 1.7 percent, and for a professional degree it’s $1,730 and 1.5 percent.

MERIC also has projections on where jobs are likely to come from in the years ahead. It says the Missouri side of the metro area will add 31,419 jobs from 2014 to 2024, a gain of just 5.93 percent. The big winner is transportation equipment manufacturing, growing by 35.8 percent and adding 3,345 jobs. Other big gains: ambulatory health-care services (4,848 added jobs), professional, scientific and technical services (2,891), food services and drinking places (2,790), administrative and support services (2,624) and specialty trade contractors (1,900).

Job losses are expected in utilities (200), computer and electronic product manufacturing (384, or a 12 percent loss), and publishing, except the internet (245, or a loss of 15.9 percent).

Government is a mixed bag. State employment, excluding education and hospitals, is expected to fall from 3,803 to 3,690, a drop of 2.97 percent. The federal government, aside from the U.S. Postal Service, is expected to fall 9.52 percent. That’s nearly 1,400 jobs. For the post office, it’s even more dire: down 22.68 percent, or nearly 800 jobs.

But local government is expected to grow about 8 percent, adding more than 1,600 jobs.


Quick hits

MOD Pizza says it’s “coming soon” to 1112 N.E. Coronado Drive (across from Five Guys and PepperJax Grill) in Blue Springs. … “Boost Your Booth – Getting the Most out of Your Trade Show Booth” is the topic of next Tuesday’s Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce Power Hour. Jeff Meyer of Custom Specialties at the presenter. It’s free, and it’s from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the chamber’s downtown office, 1000 W. Main St. … Local business leader Buddy Young is next up for the Independence Chamber of Commerce speaker series. He’ll talk about business, coaching football and what he’s learned along the way. It’s from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at the chamber office, 210 W. Truman Road.

Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s business reporter and editor. Reach him at 816-350-6313 or Twitter: @FoxEJC.