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    November 2015

Metro unemployment rate drops to 2001 levels

The big news in this month’s employment data is the drop in the unemployment rate, which fell to 4.4 percent. We would have to go back to October 2001 to find regional unemployment rates that low. Regular readers of this newsletter know we do not often highlight the unemployment rat,e since it is subject to revisions over time. However, the sharp drop is significant and worth celebrating.

Let's keep the celebration small, though. The data indicates that the decline in the unemployment rate is caused primarily by a declining labor force (Fewer people looking for work). We would prefer to see more people looking for work and a drop in the unemployment rate caused by the addition of a lot of new jobs.

Unfortunately, this has not been the case. Our employment measure has been quite stubborn as of late, hovering around the 1,035,000 mark for the last 6 months.

We still have plenty of reasons for optimism. This metro data, which lags national data, is for September, and October’s national numbers were really strong. The nation added 271,000 jobs in October, more than economists had predicted. We hope to see robust numbers for the Kansas City region when we get local data later this month.

Secondly  and more long-term, our recently released 2016 economic forecast is bullish for regional employment going forward. It forecasts two strong employment years in 2016 and 2017, with about 25,000 new jobs created each year.  

There seems to be a lot of momentum in Kansas City’s economy. Construction activity is up to levels we haven’t seen since 2005, and that doesn’t happen unless investors believe the local economy is in growth mode.¬† We certainly agree with this assessment and expect to see local hiring reflect this optimism soon.

Workforce and Educaton Summit resources

Thank you to all who attended our sixth annual Workforce and Education Summit earlier this month. Resources from the event are available online:

KC Rising Sector Leader Research Insights

Education Asset Inventory



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

Regional employment remains relatively flat.

Chart comparing employment totals to prior years

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

Kansas City's unemployment rate took a nosedive this month, falling to 4.4%.

Chart comparing unemployment rate to prior years

The lower unemployment rate moved the region up a couple of notches in the peer metro comparison, but Kansas City is still in the lower half of its peers by this measure.

Chart comparing peer metros

After a couple of months of lagging data, we see a strong upward trend in unique want ads, with the total topping 70,000 in September.

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

2016 RWIN Meeting Schedule
January 6, 2016
March 2, 2016
May 4, 2016
July 6, 2016
September 7, 2016
(All meetings at 10 a.m. at the MARC Conference Center)

KC Rising Phase I Rollout
February 29
(Date and Location TBA)

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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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