A major trend, almost impossible to measure, but one affecting the employment outlook in St Louis is the growth of independent businesses.
In Missouri, there were 347,644 establishments with no paid employees in 2003, up 5.4 percent from 329,854 in 2002. Receipts from those businesses increased nearly 10 percent in 2003 to $13.6 billion from $12.4 billion in 2002.
My fiancee is one of them - willing to pay the full 13% for Social Security and Medicare, covering her own employment taxes and health insurance, and skipping out on company-financed benefits for the chance to run her own life.
There are a lot of people out there like her - and I think they all are living the American Dream.