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In every corner of our state, wages are up, personal income is up, and unemployment continues to fall.

In fact, since I took office in January 2009, Missouri’s unemployment rate has dropped from 8.6 percent to 6.1 percent, and it’s been below the national average for 51 straight months.

Since this time last year, Missouri has added nearly 44,000 jobs. And when you look at the pace of private sector job growth, Missouri was top 10 in the nation - better than every single one of our neighboring states.

Agriculture exports from Missouri have increased by more than a billion dollars over the past five years - 71 percent - thanks to Missouri farmers and ranchers.

Behind these impressive numbers are significant investments by companies that are hiring and growing all across our state - high-tech global brands like Monsanto, Expedia, Express Scripts and Cerner, to name just a few, along with small businesses and startups like CoFactor Genomics in St. Louis and Brewer Science in Rolla.

We all know that if you want to win, you’ve got to compete. That’s why I want to thank this General Assembly for helping us make Missouri a finalist for the Boeing 777X. We didn’t win the biggest prize - but we competed at the highest level.

It’s important to remember, it was just three and a half years ago, that we came together in another special session that also had very high stakes.

Auto plants had closed. Jobs had gone overseas. And folks thought it wouldn’t be long before the last Missouri-made vehicle rolled off the line.

But instead of giving up, we took action.

Together, we passed the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act, we upped our investments in workforce training, and we saved Missouri’s auto industry.

Today, Missouri’s automotive comeback continues to make headlines. Just look at last week:

On Sunday, GM unveiled the all-new Missouri-made GMC Canyon..

On Monday, Ford unveiled the all-new Missouri-made F-150.

Later that day, we welcomed a new automotive supplier - Janesville Acoustics - and over 150 jobs to Warrensburg.

And on Thursday, Ford announced the hiring of the 1,000th worker to build the Ford Transit van, previously built exclusively overseas.

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