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    September 2017

KC employment growth stalls

Kansas City’s efforts to reach 1.1 million jobs appear to have stalled. Metro employment sits at 1,085,700 in July, which is down from May’s level. We are still up by a solid 17,200 from one year ago, but the period of rapid growth we experienced in late 2016 and early 2017 appears to have ended.

On the brighter side, we see some very good signs when we look closer at the data for employment growth by industry. The high-paying, high-skilled professional, scientific and technical industry (including engineers, accountants, lawyers and computer system designers) has added 6,000 jobs in the last year. Manufacturing employment is also up by 2,400. Overall employment growth could be better, but we are adding jobs in some key sectors.

Last month we talked about declines in construction and that trend continues with the July data. This is looking more like a national issue rather than a local one, as national construction employment growth has flattened so far in 2017.

In other indicators, the unemployment rate shot back up to 4.3 percent after declining in June. This moves Kansas City further back relative to peers, but 4.3 percent remains a very manageable unemployment rate.

Want ads continue to drop. After reaching 22,000 unique ads in March, this indicator has consistently fallen each month. In July, there were 17,705 unique ads. This trend is concerning if it reflects a lack of employer confidence. Firms would be reluctant to hire if they believe the economic expansion might soon end.

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

Employment leveled off during the summer, with current employment at 1,085,000.

Chart comparing employment totals to prior years

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

After dropping in June, Kansas City's unemployment rate jumped back up to 4.3 percent in July.

Chart comparing unemployment rate to prior years

The spike in the unemployment rate pushed Kansas City toward the back of the pack among peer metros.

Chart comparing peer metros

Job postings continued to drop, as they have done since spring.

Chart comparing job postings to prior years

Most recent Employment by Industry infographic

Employment by Industry Infographic
(Click to enlarge)

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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.

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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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