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    April 2016

Metro employment stays strong, but what happened to Kansas?

The region's employment dipped slightly from January to February, but still is 16,600 higher than a year ago. That’s a respectable, though not spectacular, increase.

What stands out is the difference in employment growth by state. We haven’t typically focused on which side of the state line is generating regional jobs, but there has been a strong shift that is worthy of attention. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides employment data for the metro broken down by state. (Note: This is not the seasonally adjusted data used in the employment chart to the right, so the totals don’t match exactly; the trend is what is important here.)

The chart above shows the share of new employment in the metro broken down by state. In 2013, almost all employment growth in the metro happened on the Kansas side. In 2014, the growth was fairly balanced. In 2015, however, things seem to have tipped. Missouri has captured the lion’s share of new jobs in the metro. For the year ending February 2016, the Missouri side accounted for 86 percent of the metro’s employment growth. It is noteworthy that the Kansas side of the metro has positive employment at all, considering that the state of Kansas as a whole lost 6,000 jobs over the last year.

Any frequent reader of this newsletter knows, employment trends can change rapidly and this data is subject to revision. We don’t yet know if this dip in Kansas side employment is just a short-term hiccup or the start of a longer-term trend, but it is definitely worth monitoring.

Here’s what the data doesn’t tell us: If the Kansas side had done better, would it have added to the region’s overall job growth, or just reallocated jobs within the region, from the Missouri side to Kansas? We’re working on diving deeper to answer this question.


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

Metro employment dipped slightly in February to 1,053,200.

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 rose to 4.5 percent, but is still well below the rate one year ago (5.9 percent).

Chart comparing unemployment rate to prior years

While unemployment rose slightly, the metro is still near the middle of the pack compared to its peers.

Chart comparing peer metros

New job postings dropped in February, but remain at historically high levels.

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
May 4, 2016
July 6, 2016
September 7, 2016
(All meetings at 10 a.m. at the MARC Conference Center)

Shaping Tomorrow’s Creative Problem Solvers
Presented by LEGO Education and Lee's Summit (No cost to attend.)

Elementary School Educators
May 11, 2016
8:30 a.m.-3:05 p.m.

Middle School Educators
May 12, 2016
8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

University of Central Missouri Lee’s Summit Campus 850 NW Chipman Road #5170 Lee’s Summit, MO 64063

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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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