The US Department of Labor reports that the average paralegal salary in Missouri was $49,870 as of 2016, the highest in the region. Over the past five years the average salary for paralegals in Missouri has increased by $2,490. If that trend continues, then by 2021 the average paralegal salary in Missouri will be well over $50,000.
The Missouri Department of Economic Development projects that the number of paralegal jobs will increase by 5.7 percent over the decade leading up to 2024. That means an average of 140 paralegal job openings per year.
So how are we to understand the driving forces behind Missouri’s strong paralegal salaries and employment prospects? To start it’s important to understand paralegal demographics. While paralegals work in virtually every sector with any company that has a legal department, the largest block of professionals – around 19 percent of paralegals according to the US Department of Labor – logically work in the legal services industry, followed by the federal government.
It’s important to understand how these paralegal demographics overlay onto our state’s economy. Kansas City and Saint Louis have by far the largest number of law firms and legal services providers in the state. As you would expect, by far the largest numbers of paralegals are also found in those two cities – 2,690 professionals and 2,390 professionals, respectively, according to the US Department of Labor.
These are also the cities that offer the highest average salaries for paralegals, and it is no coincidence that both have a significant federal government presence including Whiteman Air Force Base, US National Archives in Kansas City, Richard Bolling Federal Building in Kansas City, Page Federal Complex near Saint Louis and the Robert Young Federal Building in Saint Louis.
Not to be outdone, the private sector also attracts skilled paralegals from throughout the state. The top-paying private sector industries for paralegals include electronic component manufacturers, aerospace companies, computer equipment and software companies, and pharmaceutical companies.
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Salary Figures for Paralegals in Missouri’s Biggest Cities
The following statistics are provided for cities throughout the state, sourced from the US Department of Labor in 2016:
- Average annual – $43,430
- Average hourly – $20.88
- Top-10th annual – $71,110
- Top-10th hourly – $34.19
- Average annual – $38,410
- Average hourly – $18.47
- Top-10th annual – $50,990
- Top-10th hourly – $24.52
- Average annual – $51,120
- Average hourly – $24.58
- Top-10th annual – $72,790
- Top-10th hourly – $35.00
- Average annual – $44,510
- Average hourly – $21.40
- Top-10th annual – $62,040
- Top-10th hourly – $29.83
- Average annual – $38,340
- Average hourly – $18.43
- Top-10th annual – $50,440
- Top-10th hourly – $24.25
- Average annual – $50,000
- Average hourly – $24.04
- Top-10th annual – $74,760
- Top-10th hourly – $35.94
Salary and employment data from the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2016.