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Job Creation from Startups: How does the Kansas City Region compare?

September 9, 2016

This week the U.S. Census Bureau released interesting statistics showing how much of every metro area’s total employment came from startup businesses in 2014. The Census Bureau defines startups as firms that have been established for less than one year at the time the data is collected. The data excludes self-employed workers and several other categories (details here).


How do we do compare to our 30 peer metros? Kansas City falls in the bottom third of the list, at 1.7 percent. That puts us on a par with Columbus, Virginia Beach, Richmond, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.


The region ranks slightly better than Baltimore and St. Louis (at 1.6 percent); Memphis, Milwaukee and Cleveland (1.5 percent); and Pittsburgh (1.4 percent). Those just ahead of us, at 1.9 percent, include Providence, Charlotte and Tampa.


Minneapolis not only tops our peer metro list, but also leads the Census Bureau’s list of top 20 metros in the country for job creation from startups as a percent of total employment.


The map below shows there is something of a geographical pattern to the data with lower startup employment in the Great Lakes region and generally higher rates in the South and West.


The startup employment percentage is only one example of the data available from the Census Bureau’s Business Dynamics Statistics, which provides annual statistics on establishments, firm startups, and job creation and loss from 1976 to 2014 by firm size, firm age, industrial sector, state and metropolitan statistical area. These statistics provide snapshots of current and historical U.S. entrepreneurial activity, plus geographic and industry detail about where jobs are being created and lost in the U.S. economy.

State GDP Figures Don’t Paint a Rosy Picture

June 21, 2016

Official state economic growth numbers for 2015 were released last week from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. For our two states, the news wasn’t particularly good. Kansas’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined at an annualized rate of 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015. It was one of seven states that saw their economies shrink. Several of those were other Midwestern states (Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma) with agriculture-heavy economies. The Kansas economy showed some strength in manufacturing, however, outpacing the nation in both durable and non-durable manufacturing. Missouri’s fortunes were a little better, growing at a 1.8 percent rate – slightly ahead of the national rate of 1.7 percent. Manufacturing, construction and healthcare were particularly strong in Missouri as each sector outpaced national rates.


We will not get official GDP numbers at the metro-level until September, but historically the Kansas City MSA’s growth rate has outpaced the two states.

KC’s Biggest Cities Getting Bigger

May 25, 2016

The latest city population estimates were recently released. Here is a look at our region’s fastest growing cities. Data for all the cities can be found here.

Metro population change

MARC Regional Assembly to Honor KC Rising Leadership

May 16, 2016

We invite you to join us for MARC’s 20th Annual Regional Assembly and Regional Leadership Awards on Thursday, June 9, from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the Downtown Marriott-Muehlebach Hotel, 1213 Wyandotte, Kansas City, Missouri.

This year, we will honor Dr. Doug Girod and Scott Smith, co-chairs of the KC Rising initiative. Doug and Scott are being recognized for spearheading the effort to create a regional business plan with the ambitious goal of moving the Kansas City area into the top 10 of its 30 peer metros by 2025 in three key measures:  the number of quality jobs, median household income, and gross regional product.  As influential leaders in their fields of medicine and engineering, the two have been instrumental in successfully bringing people to the table, clearly explaining the problem and helping to figure out how to address the region’s economic challenges. We hope you will join us as we recognize them for their dedication and skillful leadership in the KC Rising endeavor.

Other 2016 Regional Leadership Award winners are John Nalbandian, professor emeritus in the University of Kansas School of Public Affairs and Administration; Gene Shepherd, emergency manager of the city of Kansas City, Missouri; and KC Healthy Kids.

Register now at Registration is $45 per person or $425 for a table of 10, including lunch and parking validation. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 816-474-4240 or Please feel free to share this invitation with others who may be interested.

KC Housing Values on the Rise

May 9, 2016

resize-FSC-KB-PrairieVillg_041The National Association of Realtors recently released their metro median home sales prices and the data shows Kansas City housing increasing in value. According to the data, Kansas City’s median home sales price for the first quarter of 2016 stood at $163,300. This is a 6.7 percent increase from one year earlier. This increase ranks us 14th among 30 peer metros.

The chart below shows how Kansas City’s housing market stacks up against these peers. Again, Kansas City’s growth rate is right in the middle of the pack, however Kansas City remains quite affordable ranking 22nd in median sales value. -Yes, the median sales price for a home in San Jose IS approaching $1 million!

The raw data can be found here.

Home Sales Value 2016


Export Plan Will Leverage Local Knowledge to Boost the KC Region’s Global Trade.

April 8, 2016

GOGLobalKCby Jeff Pinkerton

When we think of Kansas City’s economy, we generally don’t think of exports — but we certainly should. International exports make up nearly 10 percent of our regional Gross Domestic Product, at $10.2 billion per year. That’s a lot of activity, but that large number is likely to grow even further thanks to the Kansas City Metro Export Plan that was just released by the World Trade Center of Kansas City.

The Kansas City metro is a participant in the Global Cities Initiative led by the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. As part of that effort, the World Trade Center developed the regional plan through a year-long process that involved business leaders and export service providers. The plan aims to create a richer export environment in Greater Kansas City by connecting potential exporters to existing export service providers that can help them get started. An earlier survey found that region’s export service providers received high marks for their work, but were relatively unknown throughout the business community. A key component of this plan is a new “export concierge program” that will provide one-on-one guidance and make sure businesses are connected to the right services at the right time.

The plan also calls for a high level of collaboration with local economic development agencies who already have strong relationships with businesses in their communities. These agencies can carry the international message out to local businesses, help identify potential exporters, and get them plugged in to the concierge service so they can get the assistance they need.

With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of the U.S., businesses need to think globally in order to remain competitive. The World Trade Center’s export plan will go a long way to making that happen.

You can see a brief video that outlines the plan here.

Kansas City Region Showing Balanced Growth

March 28, 2016

by Jeff Pinkerton

The Kansas City metro’s population now stands at 2,087,471, having added just over 16,000 new residents between 2014 and 2015 according to the latest Census estimates. This is a 0.8 percent growth rate, which ranks in 32nd place of the 53 metro areas with at least 1 million people.
Natural population growth (births minus deaths) makes up the bulk of the change, but the region also saw net growth due to migration, both from within the U.S. and internationally. In 2011 and 2012 the region actually had net negative domestic migration, so three years of growth here (albeit slight) is a positive sign.
2015 Pop Ch Pie
Source: U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates 2015
Bucking recent trends, population growth within the metro between 2014 and 2015 was fairly evenly split between Missouri (52 percent) and Kansas (48 percent). In 2011, the Kansas side of the metro captured 70 percent of the metro’s growth. The growth has been trending to more balance ever since.
2015 Pop Ch Line
Source: U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates 2015
At the county level, 38 percent of the growth occurred in Johnson County, Kansas, followed by Jackson County, Missouri, at 24 percent; Clay County, Missouri, at 14 percent; and Platte County, Missouri, and Wyandotte County, Kansas, at 8 percent each.
2015 Pop Ch Column
Source: U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates 2015

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