Research on Southeast Missouri Economy Presented at Annual Economics Conference

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

April 28, 2010 – Increasing the minimum wage in Missouri in 2007 impacted high school and college part-time workers much more than the working poor. 

This was the conclusion of a study presented by Dr. Diane Primont, associate professor of economics, at the Eleventh Annual Economics Conference held April 23 in Glenn Auditorium at Southeast Missouri State University.  Primont and Dr. Rebecca Summary, professor of economics, researched this impact to test the conventional economic theory suggesting that an increase in minimum wage will reduce employment. The two said they found the hourly pay of a low wage worker increased by 15 cents following the minimum wage increase, but hours worked decreased by 1.7 per week. 

Primont and Summary added that workers in low-income households experienced fewer adverse effects on employment, according to their research. In contrast, they said, low-income workers in high income households, typically high school and college workers, experienced a large drop in hours.

The research conference featured six studies, all focused on southeast Missouri.  Dr. Willie Redmond, associate professor of economics, and Dr. Bruce Domazlicky, director of the Center for Economic and Business Research (CEBR), examined rural trade patterns in 18 southeast Missouri counties. They found that Cape Girardeau, New Madrid, and Butler counties had the greatest “pull” factors in 2007, drawing more retail purchasers across county lines than neighboring counties. New Madrid County, perhaps surprisingly, had the largest increase in pull as compared with 1998 data, they said. 

Dr. William Weber, professor of economics, presented two studies, and discussed labor productivity growth in the state and region. Dr. Peter Kerr, professor of economics, and Primont studied how changing demographics, including the “silver tsunami,” are impacting economic growth. Domazlicky wrapped up the session with a discussion on the IMPLAN model he uses to simulate economic impact in the region. 

“The faculty of the Department of Economics & Finance always does an outstanding job in researching topics of vital importance to southeast Missouri and the state,” Domazlicky said. “I would urge everyone interested in the region to read the summaries of the research reports.”

Details of all six economic studies are available in the Spring 2010 edition of the CEBR’s newsletter, Southeast Missouri Business Indicators, available online at http://www6.semo.edu/cebr.