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    June 2015

Has our employment expansion already ended?

Longtime readers of this newsletter know we have waited (somewhat) patiently for employment to rebound after the Great Recession. It was a long wait, but our patience finally paid off in late 2014 when Kansas City’s employment levels soared to new heights. But after four robust months of growth, we have now experienced two months of decline. Was that it? Is the party over? Well probably not.

Let’s keep a couple of things in mind before we declare our short-lived expansion over:

The Big Picture

Despite back-to-back monthly declines (and an overall drop of 9,000 jobs) we are still well above where we were one year ago. In April 2014, metro employment stood at 1,014,300. We have added 18,200 jobs since then (to 1,032,500) which is a solid year’s worth of employment growth.

Stops and Starts

When the economy or workforce awakens from a downturn, growth is seldom smooth and consistent. We have become accustomed to a short period of growth, followed by a dip, before steadier, sustainable growth occurs in either GDP or employment. We may be experiencing this dip right now.

It is not too hard to imagine that local businesses might wait to start hiring because they are running at full capacity — then all start hiring at once as they seek to expand and grow. This can happen in a large splash, as it did in the Kansas City metro late last year. After the initial hiring flurry, businesses might take a wait-and-see approach to determine whether they have enough workers or need to keep hiring.

We are likely just seeing a pause in the action. Job postings continue to skyrocket, which indicates that area businesses are not done hiring. Of course, we will continue to monitor the data and let you know what May looked like (besides soggy) in about a month.

Upcoming Events

RWIN Meetings
July 1, 10 a.m.
MARC Conference Center

Sept. 2, 10 a.m.
MARC Conference Center

Annual Workforce Summit
Save the Date:
Nov. 3, 8 a.m. to noon
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center


 

THE LATEST METRO DATA

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

Regional employment slipped again in April, to 1,023,500, but remains well above the April 2014 mark.

Chart comparing employment totals to prior years

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
[The number of unemployed as a percent of the total labor force.]

Kansas City's unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent in April. NOTE: We typically use the seasonally adjusted unemployment rates here, but that data series is temporarily unavailable. The rates shown below are not seasonally adjusted.

Chart comparing unemployment rate to prior years

COMPARISON TO PEER METROS
Kansas City's unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent, but many of our peer metros saw their rates decline even further. Kansas City's unemployment rate is the third highest among 14 peers.

Chart comparing peer metros

JOB POSTINGS
Unique help wanted ads continue to reach new territory, topping 60,000 in April.

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 kcworkforce.com.


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MARC logo Mid-America Regional Council | 600 Broadway, Suite 200 | Kansas City, MO 64105 | Ph. 816-474-4240 | marcinfo@marc.org
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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