The Missouri Partnership is the state's business recruitment organization and a key economic development partner for Missouri communities

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Central Region - A major center for education and government


The 19-county central Missouri region is home to the state capital – Jefferson City – and more than a dozen colleges and universities. The University of Missouri’s flagship campus (MU) in Columbia and its science and technology campus (Missouri S&T) in Rolla provide a steady stream of talent for businesses in all sectors, including bio, energy, and IT. 

The central region is also home to some of Missouri’s most popular recreational sites, including __ miles of the Katy Trail bike path, a sizeable portion of the Mark Twain National Forest and several Missouri wineries.  At 58,000 acres, the Lake of the Ozarks draws visitors from far and wide for championship fishing and golf, shopping and resorts.

Central Missouri’s companies share the state’s business benefits:

  • Low business costs and taxes
  • An above-average, below-market work force
  • A low cost of living
  • A strong transportation network 
    • Highways 50, 54 and 63; Interstate 70
    • Class I rail via KCS, NS, BNSF and UP
    • Regional airports
    • Missouri River access

Major cities

Columbia (Pop: 113,225)
Jefferson City (43,183)
Rolla (19,789)
Lebanon (14,543)
Fort Leonard Wood (15,235)
Fulton (12,728)
Mexico (11,551)

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011-2012

Businesses and industry

The region's major employers include:

Central Missouri profile

Educational attainment:

High School Diploma 148,259
Some College 88,877
Associate’s Degree 27,125
Bachelor’s Degree 65,791 
Graduate Degree 40,858
Total Degrees 370,910

Download data (Excel or PDF) for all Missouri regions and counties.

Population 2012 683,998
Population Projection 2030 769,636
Civilian Labor Force (July 2013) 339,661
Employment (July 2013) 316,675
Unemployment (July 2013) 22,986
Unemployment Rate (July 2013) 6.80%

Download data (Excel or PDF) for all Missouri regions and counties.

Recent investment projects

In just one year, the central region has announced expansions worth nearly $25 million, adding over 500 new jobs.
Companies include:

  • Nanova Biomaterials - nanotech r&d company
  • Meramec Electrical Products- current transformers
  • Hubbell Power Systems- specialty solar panel film production
  • Fluid Power Support- steel fabrication company
  • Brewer Science Inc.- materials for smartphones and tablet computers 


Next steps

Download regional Data  or find available sites and buildings in the region.

Related downloads

Related maps

Local economic development contacts


Missouri CORE (Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Camden, Cole, Cooper, Howard, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan, and Osage Counties)

Missouri’s Fort Leonard Wood Region (Laclede, Pulaski, and Phelps Counties)

Missouri’s Meramec Region (Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski, and Washington Counties)

St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association (Washington County)


America’s Heartland Economic Partnership (Lebanon and Laclede County)

City of Mexico

Columbia Regional Economic Development, Inc.

Fulton Area Development Corporation

Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce

Rolla Regional Economic Commission

Contact Us
Phone: +1.314.725.0949
Toll Free: +1.877.725.0949
Fax: +1.314.725.0743
Online Form

120 South Central Avenue, Suite 1535
Saint Louis, MO 63105

12200 NW Ambassador Drive, Suite 234
Kansas City, MO 64163