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    February 2014

A good year, but not a great one

We close the books on 2013 with a look at the December data. All in all, 2013 was a decent year in terms of regional employment. Key trends continued heading in the right direction, but the pace has continued to be frustratingly slow.

Employment grew in 2013 by roughly 7,000 jobs, which is, frankly, not enough. In a metro area the size of Kansas City, there are likely at least 10,000 new entrants into the workforce in a given year. With more workers looking for relatively fewer jobs, with all else being equal, we should see the unemployment rate spike. Our unemployment rate, though, has dropped considerably, from 6.3 percent at the end of 2012 to 5.6 percent in December 2013. This can only mean that while new workers are entering the workforce on one end, we must have more people leaving the workforce on the other end. Data shows that Kansas City’s labor force peaked at the end of 2010 and has been declining slightly ever since.

The shrinking workforce can be attributed to people who want to work but have stopped looking for work, therefore dropping out of the workforce, or the impact of the earliest baby boomers heading into retirement. Whatever the case, we should not feel too good about our low unemployment rate, since it is caused by the loss of workforce rather than the growth of jobs.

Upcoming Events

RWIN Meeting
March 7, 10 a.m.
MARC Conference Center

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.



[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. Current Employment Statistics data.]

Regtional employment stood at 1,007,000 at the end of 2013, up 7,000 from one year earlier.

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

The unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent, down from 6.3 percent in December 2013.

Kansas City's unemployment rate remains in the lower half of our peer metro group.

Help wanted ads dropped significantly at the end of the year.

Source: WANTED Analytics

December 2013 "Employment by Industry" infographic

When we look at employment change by industry in Greater Kansas City, there are several reasons for optimism.

Professional and business services continues to be the leading growth industry for the region, creating 3,600 jobs between December 2012 and December 2013. Most of those jobs are in the high paying professional-technical fields.

Manufacturing grew by 900 jobs over the same period and construction enjoyed a solid year, adding 2,000 jobs.

The only real drag on the local economy from an employment perspective was retail sales, which lost 4,800 jobs in the year ending December 2013. This retail trend is worth watching, as this decline was not seen at the national level nor among our peer metros.

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Interested in more about KC's economy? Follow @KCEconomy on Twitter to get the latest information on regional economic data.



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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