Washington Economic Development Director Darren Lamb said a recent study paints a positive overall picture of Franklin County’s work force.
Every few years, Lamb said, the county, in conjunction with Ameren Missouri, commissions a work force assessment through Ameren’s Quality of Labor program.
The purpose of the study is to provide companies interested in Franklin County information about the quality of products and services, wages, work force skills and employee compensation.
A total of 95 electronic questionnaires were emailed to business firms in Franklin County.
Twenty-two of them responded and of those, 86 percent were manufacturers. The responding businesses employ an average of 91 employees, most of them full time.
The survey results revealed the county is below state average in wage earnings and employee compensation, but above the state average in quality and work force skills.
The average hourly wage in Franklin County is $18.86, compared to a Missouri average of $19.47.
Lamb said the lower wages were not necessarily a bad thing.
“The average salary may be lower, but if you can get quality product at a lower price, then that can be a positive,” he said. “Businesses might look at that and realize they can get a quality product for a lower price.”
Respondents were asked to estimate answers pertaining to commuting distance, absenteeism, turnover, age of employees and employer contribution.
According to the survey, the average length of employment per employee is 11.2 years, with an average employee age of 40.3 years.
Most employees fall between ages 30 to 50 and have an average of 12.7 years of education.
Employees with a bachelor’s degree or higher is 17.9 percent, which is below the U.S. Census for Missouri population average of 25.4 percent.
Employees generally miss about 4.8 percent of their annual hours of work, with a slightly higher number for those in manufacturing — 6.8 percent.
The number drops to 4.8 for manufacturers with 100 or more employees, however.
In a 12-month period the average turnover rate is 6.8 percent, however, the assessment didn’t differentiate between voluntary and involuntary turnover.
Most Franklin County workers, 47.7 percent, travel between 10 and 30 miles to work.
“This shows we have a larger area and a bigger pool of workers for companies to choose from,” Lamb said.
Lamb said overall the survey is a good snapshot of the Franklin County work force.
“Overall, it’s positive,” he said. “It’s a valuable tool for outside prospects and gives us a better grasp of our demographics that we can present to them.”