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    July 2015

Employment rebounds as KC does the heavy lifting for both states

In last month’s newsletter we asked if our employment expansion had already ended. After speeding up in late 2014 and early 2015, employment growth hit the brakes in March and April. In May, we rebounded with 3,400 new jobs (seasonally adjusted) — up by 18,400 from one year ago. As we said last month, economic recoveries are not always characterized by smooth, consistent acceleration. KC's spring employment dip was likely just a slight misfire. Our economic engine appears finely tuned and ready to propel the region forward.

Speaking of engines, Kansas City’s employment growth over the past year is even more remarkable when we look through a bistate lens. The chart below shows just how important the Kansas City metro is to the economy in both states. The blue bars show the percent of total state employment that is located in the Kansas City metro. Jobs on the Missouri side of the Kansas City metro make up 20.8 percent of the state total. In Kansas, 32.8 percent of all jobs are located within the Kansas City metro.

The metro plays an even greater role in job growth, far exceeding its share of jobs. In Missouri, two-thirds of all new jobs created in the last year are located in the Kansas City metro. In Kansas, the metro accounts for 139 percent of all new jobs! That means that were it not for the Kansas side of the Kansas City metro, the state would have experienced a loss in employment over the past year.

Clearly, Kansas City is not just riding this job-growth bus — we’re driving it. Neither state’s employment growth has been all that impressive in recent years. The fact that the metro is moving forward at its own pace perhaps speaks to a new economic reality, where regions can grow, innovate, and plug into the global economy on their own — leading, rather than following, state and national trends.


[The current number of jobs in the Kansas City metro as determined by the monthly Current Employment Statistics survey.]

After a two-month decline, regional employment rose in May, to 1,035,500. Employment remains well above where we were one year ago.

Chart comparing employment totals to prior years

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

After dropping in March and April, Kansas City's unemployment rate ticked up to 5.3 percent in May. NOTE: We typically use the seasonally adjusted unemployment rates here, but that data series is temporarily unavailable. The rates shown below are not seasonally adjusted.

Chart comparing unemployment rate to prior years

At 5.3 percent, Kansas City's unemployment rate still does not compare favorably to its peers; 10 of the 14 peer metros are doing better.

Chart comparing peer metros

Unique help wanted ads reached new territory in April, topping 60,000. Note: At the time of publication, May data was not yet available.

Chart comparing job postings to prior years

Most recent Employment by Industry infographic

Employment by Industry Infographic
(Click to enlarge)

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.

Upcoming Events

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Sept. 2, 10 a.m.
MARC Conference Center

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Nov. 3, 8 a.m. to noon
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center

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MARC logo 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 EMSI.
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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