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Local Unemployment Rates Vary by Occupation

June 11, 2013

by Jeff Pinkerton

The Kansas City metro’s unemployment rate currently sits at 6.1 percent overall (April data, not seasonally adjusted). But depending on occupation, the unemployment rate can vary significantly.

We can calculate rough unemployment rates by occupation using data from Economic Modeling Specialist International (EMSI). The table below shows the unemployment rate for major occupations in the Kansas City region.  The rate is calculated by adding employment and the number unemployed in each occupation and dividing that total into the number unemployed. Keep in mind, this is not a true unemployment rate because those who are just entering the labor market and have no previous work experience (and therefore cannot be assigned to an occupation) are not included in the number unemployed. The true unemployment rates for each occupation would be higher. But this data still allows us to make comparisons across occupations.

Using this formula, we can see that those looking for work in construction are still having the most difficult time finding jobs, with an estimated unemployment rate of 12.5 percent. Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance occupations rank second highest, with a 7.1 percent unemployment rate.

On the other end of the scale, the unemployment rate for Computer and Mathematical occupations is just 1.3 percent, and the Healthcare Practitioners unemployment rate is a low 1.7 percent.

The role of educational attainment is clear when looking at the list. Occupations with the higher unemployment rates tend not to require higher levels of education. Moving down the list, the unemployment rate drops as the level of education required for the job generally increases.Occupation Unemployment Rate June 2013

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