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    January 2016

Unemployment breaks the 4 percent barrier

Kansas City’s metro unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent in November. To put this in perspective, the last time we saw an unemployment rate below 4 percent the Chiefs were wrapping up a 7-and-9 season under Head Coach Gunther Cunningham, Mike Sweeney had just led the Royals to a 77-85 record and the political news was all about hanging chads. It was December 2000.

The drop is even more impressive when you consider that the regional unemployment rate stood at 5.9 percent at the start of the year, slightly above the national rate of 5.7 percent. At 3.9 percent, Kansas City’s rate is now significantly below the U.S. rate of 5 percent.

We're also looking much better compared to other metros. Among our 14 peer metros, Kansas City now has the sixth-lowest unemployment rate.

Although the unemployment dip is the headliner this month, regional employment remains flat. In fact, the employment total dipped just a bit in November to 1,038,900, about 2,000 fewer jobs than October. Because we use Current Employment Statistics (CES) data for this indicator, we shouldn’t worry too much about month-to-month variability. On a year-to-year basis, the metro is still up by more than 12,000 jobs.

As of publication time, November data for help-wanted ads was not yet available.

THE LATEST METRO DATA (as of November 2015)

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

Regional employment dropped slightly from its all-time high in October, but remains strong.

Chart comparing employment totals to prior years

[The number of unemployed as a percent of the total labor force, not seasonally adjusted.]

Kansas City's unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent. The metro unemployment rate hasn't been this low since December 2000.

Chart comparing unemployment rate to prior years

At 3.9 percent unemployment, the metro leapfrogged over several others to move into the top half of peer metros in November.

Chart comparing peer metros

Job posting data is not yet available for November. The total number of unique help wanted ads dipped in October but remains quite strong.

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

Upcoming Events

2016 RWIN Meeting Schedule
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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Mid-America Regional Council | 600 Broadway, Suite 200 | Kansas City, MO 64105 | Ph. 816-474-4240 |
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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