E-mail not displaying correctly? Click here to view it in your web browser.

    July 2012

Monthly ups and downs can cloud the big picture

Given the much-publicized poor national employment numbers for May, we did not expect our local figures to be very good — and unfortunately, we were right.

Seasonally adjusted employment in the Kansas City metro dropped by 3,800 and our local unemployment rate rose by three-tenths of a percent, to 6.9 percent. Seasonally adjusted employment has declined by 6,700 so far this year, although it is still higher than last year at this time.

Our monthly analysis of the national and local labor markets is beginning to sound like a broken record. Again, the economy appears fundamentally sound. Economic output has more than recovered from the recession. Help-wanted ads are up above last year’s level. But employment just isn't gaining much ground. We have months where the employment numbers look so positive that we think that employment has turned the corner, only to find stagnant or declining numbers the following month.

The lesson in all this is to keep our eyes on the big picture. When we look at employment data one month at a time, it's easy to read too much into the ups and downs. But as the employment graph at the top of this page shows, the big picture is that employment in the region is up by only 5,500 jobs from one year ago.

Upcoming Events

Regional Green Jobs Task Force
July 24, 10 a.m., MARC offices

Regional Workforce Intelligence Network
Aug. 1, 10 a.m., MARC offices

About RWIN

MARC developed the Regional Workforce Intelligence Network to encourage greater collaboration among the region's workforce data and information professionals. RWIN is a collaboration of economic development professionals, one-stop centers, workforce centers, community colleges and universities that meets on a monthly basis. For more information, visit kcworkforce.com.


Funding provided by an
America Works Initiative grant
from the Walmart Foundation



[Definition: The number of jobs paid for by employers.]
Seasonally adjusted employment trended down for the second consecutive month. The overall employment level for the region is up by just 5,500 from one year ago.

[Definition: Total of all employed persons and all unemployed persons who are available for and seeking work.]
The labor force remains stagnant at around 1,045,000. We should begin to see the normal seasonal spike in labor force next month, as the June data will reflect new graduates entering the workforce.

[Definition: The number of unemployed as a percent of the total labor force.] After a sharp decline in April, Kansas City's unemployment rate jumped back up a bit to 6.9 percent in May.

Unemployment rates declined in just two peer metros in May (Sacramento and Cincinnati). Kansas City remains in the middle of the pack at 6.9 percent.

Job postings continue to be well ahead of last year's pace.

A new look for our website

In June, RWIN launched an updated website at kcworkforce.com. Be sure to visit the site for the latest reports on top occupations and targeted industries.

Workforce Summit

On June 27, RWIN convened about 150 people for the 2nd annual Workforce Summit. Participants shared market intelligence and discussed how partners throughout the region are addressing real-time demands.

Bruce Stephen, director of Real-Time Labor Intelligence Research with Monster, Inc., delivered the keynote address, providing information on workforce data and statistics in the Kansas City region. Stephen also shared examples of how this data can be used in workforce and curriculum development.

Some highlights:

  • Food preparation and serving-related occupations reported the strongest year-over-year increase (up 50 percent, or 75 points) followed by transportation and material moving roles (up 26 percent, or 44 points).
  • The finance sector exhibits greater job postings relative to the supply of workers.
  • The top job-posting employers in the KC metro area and West North Central division are concentrated more in health care while nationally the employers advertising the most jobs are in retail.

See all the slides from Bruce Stephen's presentation online.

Mid-America Regional Council | 600 Broadway, Suite 200 | Kansas City, MO 64105 | Ph. 816-474-4240 | marcinfo@marc.org
Data sources: Kansas Department of Labor, Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), The Conference Board and Wanted Analytics.
Regional data includes Franklin, Johnson, Leavenworth, Linn, Miami and Wyandotte counties in Kansas and Bates, Caldwell, Cass, Clay, Clinton, Jackson,
Lafayette, Platte and Ray counties in Missouri.

Subscribe | Unsubscribe Bookmark and Share