Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Business Digest

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Business Digest

Article excerpt

Missouri economy speeds up * Missouri's economy picked up speed last year, though it's still lagging the nation as a whole. The state's $259 billion gross domestic product reflected 2 percent growth in 2012, according to new numbers from the Commerce Department. That's a sharp increase from 0.3 percent in 2011, but still trailing the national average of 2.5 percent. Illinois' GDP grew 1.9 percent. Missouri has underperformed the nation in all but one of the last 14 years. But it did climb from the bottom of the pack of 50 states in 2011 to the middle in 2012. More than half of Missouri's economic growth last year came from two sectors: Manufacturing and the financial services industry. Government and farming both shrank. Missouri lawmakers this spring have pointed to income tax cuts passed in Kansas last summer and predicted fast economic growth there, but these numbers don't yet bear that out. The Sunflower State's economy expanded just 1.5 percent last year, though the tax cuts did not actually take effect until Jan. 1. Gov. Jay Nixon Wednesday vetoed income tax cuts in Missouri designed to compete with those across the border in Kansas. (Tim Logan)

This old town * St. Louis is the fourth-best place in the country for buying cheap old fixer-upper houses, according to RealtyTrac. The online foreclosed-home market website counted 1,021 such homes on sale here. Such homes are owned by banks, were built before 1960 and sell for less than $100,000. The average price in St. Louis was $60,550. Only Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland have more such homes for sale. (Jim Gallagher)

Mortgage rates rise * The average U.S. rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage rose above 3 percent this week for the first time in a year, while the rate on the 30-year fixed loan approached 4 percent. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30- year loan jumped to 3.91 percent from 3.81 percent last week. That's the highest since March 2012. The rate on the 15-year loan rose to 3. …

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