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  April 2013      

Employment is looking up...we think

Our last newsletter looked a bit like alphabet soup. We questioned the continued use of the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) for our regional employment figure. We feel that the employment figure we get from the LAUS does not track well with the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). The QCEW is the most complete measure of employment because it collects data from all business establishments that participate in the unemployment insurance program. But what the QCEW gives us in accuracy, it takes away in terms of immediacy — it often lags by six to eight months.

This leaves us with Current Employment Statistics (CES) data as our best choice. The CES provides more timely data (lagging only by one to three months) and it is adjusted for seasonal fluctuations. It does not, however, give us labor force data, so we can't use it to calculate an unemployment rate. But, since the CES is the best timely measure of employment we have, we are going to base much of our workforce analysis on it. (See last month’s newsletter for an in-depth discussion on these different sources.)

This month’s CES data was delayed by a month so the Bureau of Labor Statistics could benchmark the data to the most recent QCEW data. This most recent release is for January data. The employment level did not change between December and January, but the overall level is up by about 7,000 from one year earlier. By contrast, the LAUS data shows regional employment dropping by more than 10,000 between January 2012 and January 2013.

We will continue to monitor the local and peer metro unemployment rates from the LAUS. Kansas City’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.4 percent between December and January, but is down from 7.2 percent in January 2012. The region continues to be in the middle of the pack compared to other peer metro areas.

We feel confident that Kansas City enters 2013 with a better workforce situation than one year ago. We have seen signs of employment stability in the construction sector, while the professional and business services industry continues to grow. The employment sector with the greatest decline is federal government employment, and it may decline even further as we begin to feel the effects of sequestration. This decline, however, should more than offset by the growth in professional services and the promise of new construction jobs. (See our recent blog post on housing construction.)


Upcoming Events

Regional Workforce Intelligence Network
April 2, 10 a.m., MARC offices

Regional Green Jobs Task Force
April 23, 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


[The number of people currently employed full or part time. It is not a count of jobs, as an employed person may have more than one job.]

Employment was essentially unchanged between December and January, but is up 7,000 from one year earlier.

[The number of unemployed as a percent of the total labor force.]

The seasonally adjusted unemployment remained at 6.4 percent as we entered 2013.

Kansas City's unemployment rate is firmly in the middle of its peers.

After a slight increase in January, job postings for February are even with 2012.

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.

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