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Where the Jobs Are

February 24, 2016

by Jeff Pinkerton

Kansas City’s 1 million plus jobs are spread across all major industries. The largest employers (industries like Health Care, Retail and Professional-Technical Services) are probably not a surprise to anyone, but it is instructive to see just how large some of these industries are in our economy. The chart below breaks down the metro’s employment by industry keeping the relative scale intact.

Employment by Industry

Source: JobsEQ 2015Q3

Understanding our current employment mix is important, but knowing which industries are going to generate the most new jobs may be more telling, especially as educators and business leaders across the region are trying to make sure we’re prepared for future business needs. The following chart takes these broad industries and projects employment change in the next 10 years. The gold bars below show how each industry will grow in terms of employment (net new jobs created). Health Care leads the way with 25,000 net new jobs, followed by Professional-Technical Services with about 11,000. Combined, these two industries are expected to generate 56 percent of all new jobs in the region.

Employment Growth by Industry
 Source: JobsEQ 2015Q3

However, this doesn’t mean the other industries are dead ends. As the blue bars show, many of them will still have strong employment demand due to replacement needs. Take Manufacturing, for example. Even though the industry is expected to contract (losing about 5,000 net jobs) there will still be over 15,000 openings in manufacturing over the next 10 years from people retiring, moving away, or leaving the industry. It is no surprise to see that the two industries with a lot of turnover (Retail and Accommodations-Food Services) have the highest replacement demand.

So while the industries that are net creators of jobs often capture most of our attention as we look to maintain Greater Kansas City’s competitiveness, it is important to remember that there will be job opportunities across a much wider spectrum of industries.

A spreadsheet with the detailed figures is available here.

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