Economy continues long, slow road to recovery

Posted June 2, 2022

In April, seasonally adjusted employment increased by 1,500 jobs, offsetting some of the losses from last month (2,400 jobs). The Kansas City economy has now recovered 82% of the 139,300 jobs lost from the recession. The Kansas City economy needs to recover another 25,000 jobs to return to the pre-pandemic peak of employment. The unemployment rate declined from 3.4% to 3.3% between March and April, a modest improvement. 

Kansas City has improved one position from last month in our 12-month employment growth comparison to peer metros. Kansas City ranks 10th overall, with total employment increasing by 18,800, or 1.8%, over the past 12-month period. Overall, Kansas City has recovered slower than some of our other peer metros, far behind Austin (7.4%) and Nashville (7.1%). 

Leisure and Hospitality continues to have the strongest recovery given it has the most ground to recover. Over the 12-month period, job growth in Leisure and Hospitality increased by 10,600 jobs. Other sectors that saw large 12-month growth include: Mining, Logging, and Construction up 4,300 jobs, Transportation and Warehousing up 3,100 jobs, and Technical/Professional Services up 3,000 jobs. Sectors that saw losses over this period include Financial Services down 1,800 jobs, Local Government down 1,500 jobs, and Manufacturing down 1,300 jobs. 

Kansas City has struggled to recover from the pandemic-induced recession relative to peer metros. At the current pace of recovery, it may take the Kansas City region until sometime next year to fully recover. Maintaining even the current pace of growth will be a challenge considering current economic headwinds like inflation, continuing supply chain issues and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Job posting data continues to be the one highlight in our data. The number of posts seeking applicants improved greatly this month suggesting that companies are looking for workers. Hopefully, this large increase in demand translates to larger future gains in employment in the Kansas City region

View the Monthly Workforce Indicators