Metro Sees Broader Employment Growth
by Jeff Pinkerton
It’s no secret that Kansas City’s overall employment growth has been less-than-stellar in recent years. While the region has created many jobs in certain sectors — like professional and technical services — losses in retail and information have negated that growth to give us a small net gain.
Employment industry data for July 2012 to July 2013 was recently released and provides some optimism that we might see more significant employment growth. Professional and technical services continue to lead the way with 6,100 net new jobs. Health care and private education also continue to show solid growth, adding 3,500 jobs. We have been leaning on these industries for job creation and they have delivered.
Manufacturing employment has been on a bit of a roller-coaster ride during the recovery, but it added a very robust 3,700 jobs over the past year. Construction has also been up and down, but ultimately added 500 jobs.
Perhaps most encouraging is the fact that the information sector — which has lost about half of its employment since 2003 — has started to level off, losing just 200 jobs between July 2012 to July 2013. Within this sector the losses were seen in telecommunications and printing. If this sector were simply to stabilize going forward, it would help our employment picture as it would no longer drag on our growth.
The retail sector has also shown consistent losses recently, losing 3,300 jobs over the past year. This is curious because nationally retail grew 2 percent over the last year. We will have to keep an eye on this sector to see if our data is an anomaly, or if something endemic is causing our retail sector to contract.