Kansas City Employment Forecast

Released January 8, 2019  (See previous version.)

Total nonfarm employment in the Kansas City, MO-KS, metropolitan area* increased by more than 16,000 jobs from November 2017 to November 2018, growing 1.5 percent. The metropolitan area has grown strongly in recent years, averaging more than 18,000 new jobs annually from 2012 to 2017. During that time Kansas City’s overall employment has grown more rapidly than both the Missouri and Kansas state averages. The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for the Kansas City area declined to 3.1 percent in September 2018, its lowest level in 18 years.

In 2019, the Kansas City metropolitan area is projected to add more than 16,100 new jobs, with employment growth of 1.5 percent. The growth is projected to be broad-based, with the production, service, and government sectors’ employment expected to each grow more than one percent.

  •  Production sector employment is projected to grow 1.5 percent in 2019, adding more than 1,800 jobs. This is forecast to be an acceleration compared to 2017 and 2018, in part due to the manufacturing sector returning to positive job growth after employment declines in 2017 and 2018. The natural resources and construction sector is expected to continue its growth pattern from recent years, with projected growth of 3.1 percent. Since 2012, the sector has led growth in the production sector with annual growth ranging from 3.4 to 6 percent in that time.
  • Employment in the trade, transportation and utilities sector is forecast to grow 0.9 percent in 2019, adding more than 2,000 jobs to the metropolitan economy. The retail and wholesale trade sectors are projected to continue to grow between 0.5 and 1 percent, while the transportation and utilities sector is expected to lead growth with more than 800 new jobs in 2019.
  • The service sector is expected to have the fastest employment growth in the Kansas City metropolitan area in 2019, with 1.7 percent growth and more than 10,000 new jobs. This is projected to be a modest increase compared to the sector’s growth in 2017 and 2018, which was approximately 1.6 percent annually. Since 2011, Kansas City’s service sector growth has annually grown between 1.5 and 2.7 percent. The fastest growing service sectors in recent years have been the professional and business services sector and the education and health services sector. Professional and business services employment has grown 21.2 percent from 2011 to 2017, and education and health services employment has grown 14.1 percent in that time. The only service sector with contracting employment has been the information sector, which declined by approximately 6,800 jobs from 2011 to 2017.
  • Government sector employment is forecast to grow by 1.4 percent in 2019, adding more than 2,000 new jobs. This growth is projected to largely occur in the local government sector, while state and federal government employment is expected to remain largely flat

*The Kansas City, MO-KS, metropolitan area includes Bates, Caldwell, Cass, Clay, Clinton, Jackson, Lafayette, Platte and Ray counties in Missouri and Johnson, Leavenworth, Linn, Miami, and Wyandotte counties in Kansas.




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