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    July 2017

May's employment drop ends KC's hot streak

All good things must end. Kansas City saw a sharp drop in employment in May to 1,082,700. This ends a very robust streak that started in mid-2016. Any regular reader of this newsletter knows we do not make too much out of one month’s worth of data. This drop could prove to be an anomaly, or this data could be revised. Even if it is not, it is important to remember that we are still more than 22,000 jobs ahead of where we were at this point last year.

The metro unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent after a huge drop the month before. This spike was to be expected, as this data is not seasonally adjusted. Recent graduates entering the labor force typically cause a temporary jump in the unemployment rate at this time of year.

Keeping with this month’s theme, job postings also dropped in May. There were 19,212 unique help-wanted ads in the area. This figure is well below the May 2016 level.

So, for the first time in quite a while, Kansas City’s labor force news was not all good. We will look to next month’s employment number for a clue whether this drop was a blip on the radar or perhaps an early sign of concern.

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

Employment fell in May, to 1,082,700, but still remains well above 2016 levels.

Chart comparing employment totals to prior years

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

After diving to 3.5 percent in April, the region's unemployment rate spiked back up to 3.9 percent in May.

Chart comparing unemployment rate to prior years

May's 3.9 percent unemployment rate pushed Kansas City closer to the back of the pack relative to peer metros.

Chart comparing peer metros

Job postings fell for the second consecutive month.

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

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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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