Kansas City Employment Forecast

Released  May 9, 2019  (See previous version.)

Total nonfarm employment in the Kansas City, MO-KS, metropolitan area* grew 1.1 percent with the addition of 11,800 new jobs in 2018. This was moderately lower than the area’s recent growth trend, which averaged more than 18,000 new jobs annually from 2012 to 2017, but still grew faster than the Missouri and Kansas state averages, as it has since 2012. The unemployment rate for the Kansas City area declined for an eighth consecutive year to 3.4 percent in 2018, its lowest level since 1999.

In 2019, the Kansas City metropolitan area is projected to add more than 11,000 new jobs as employment grows 1.0 percent. The fastest growth is forecast to be in the service and government sectors, but growth is expected in all of the area’s major economic sectors. 

  • The production sector is forecast to grow 0.3 percent in 2019, adding more than 300 new jobs. Growth in 2019 is expected to be driven by the manufacturing sector, which is projected to almost 1,000 new jobs, following the sector’s return to growth in 2018 after contracting in 2017. The construction and mining sector is projected to decline by approximately 600 jobs in 2019 after growth slowed substantially in 2018. 
  • Trade, transportation and utilities employment is projected to almost 1,000 new jobs to the local economy in 2019. The growth is projected to be concentrated in the wholesale trade sector and transportation and utilities sector, while employment in the retail trade sector is projected to decline modestly. On an inflation-adjusted basis, taxable retail sales are projected to grow 0.4 percent in 2019, the fastest growth of any Kansas metropolitan area.
  • More than half of Kansas City’s employment growth is forecast to be in the service sector, which is projected to add more than 6,000 new jobs in 2019. The service sector is expected to grow 1.1 percent in 2019, a substantial acceleration compared to 2018’s 0.6 percent growth in the sector, though still modestly lower than the area’s service sector growth from 2012 to 2017, which averaged 2 percent. Growth is projected to be led by the professional and business services sector and the education and health services sector. Since 2012, these two service sectors have accounted for more than 80 percent of the total service sector growth in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
  • Government sector employment is expected to expand 2 percent in 2019 with more than 3,000 new jobs. These jobs are forecast to be largely in the local government sector, with modest growth in state and federal government employment.

*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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