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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

KC Employment: Jackson County Surging, Johnson County Carrying Kansas

March 11, 2016

by Jeff Pinkerton

Here are a few interesting employment facts from the latest release (thru September 2015) of the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). Why is data that is already six months old so interesting? Fair question. For a quick answer, see the note below.

On to the highlights.

For starters, the Kansas City Metro added 22,577 jobs in the year ending September 2015. This is solid annual job growth for us. What is interesting is how that breaks down geographically, depicted in the chart below.

3_2016 QCEW Empl by County Chart

Nearly 40 percent of the metro’s new jobs last year were created in Jackson County (8,788). Johnson County followed with 5,491 jobs, or 24 percent of the total. Second place is an unfamiliar position for Johnson County, as it has clearly been the region’s job creator in recent years. But 2015 was not particularly good for Johnson County in terms of employment — in recent years, it has averaged closer to 8,000 new jobs annually.
There are two big stories here. The first is Jackson County’s employment surge. Adding 8,788 jobs over the past year is well above its recent pace. The chart below highlights the recent surge.

3_2016 QCEW Empl by County Trend Chart
Second, the employment numbers for Johnson County (and the Kansas side of the MSA) are really remarkable when you look at the figures for the state as a whole. The Kansas side of the metro accounted for a whopping 97 percent of the total job growth in the state of Kansas (7,881 of 8,113 jobs). That bears repeating — 97 out of every 100 new jobs in Kansas were created in Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami or Wyandotte counties!
As always, we have to caution that this analysis is based on fairly short-term trends. Jackson County’s surge could prove to be a temporary blip, while Johnson County could quickly recapture its title as the region’s job creator. We have to wonder if the factors that are causing weak job growth in Kansas are also impacting the metro’s potential job growth. We will continue to track this data and keep you posted.

NOTE: The QCEW gives the most accurate picture of local employment, as it is derived from actual tax reports that businesses submit for unemployment insurance purposes. The drawback to this accuracy is the six-month lag time. The QCEW also provides the baseline for other employment data, such as the Current Employment Statistics (CES) which we use for our monthly workforce report. We will release a new report later this month that will reflect this new QCEW data.

The raw data used in this post can be found here.

How Fulfilled Are You, KC?

February 26, 2016

by Jeff Pinkerton

An extensive survey and report by Gallup HealtNichols Fountainhways ranked the well-being of 190 metropolitan areas across the country. Where did Kansas City rank? Well, much like our geographic position, right in the middle.

KC appears in the third (or middle) quintile at number 111. Naples, Florida, had the highest overall rank followed by Salinas, California; North Port-Sarasota, Florida; and Fort Collins, Colorado. Among the largest metros, San Jose, Austin and San Antonio topped the list.

The report breaks down perceived well-being in five categories:

  • Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals.
  • Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life.
  • Financial: Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security.
  • Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community.
  • Physical: Having good health and energy to get things done daily.

Kansas City performed in the middle of the pack in each category, but had its best rankings in Financial and Community. Our lowest marks came in Social and Physical.

Reports that rank cities based on various characteristics are seemingly released on a daily basis. Most of them can safely be ignored, but I think this report has something important to tell us. People can choose to live in a city that they believe gives them the best opportunity to have the quality of life they want for themselves and their families. Being able to measure an overall sense of well-being and compare Kansas City to other metros can help us understand what we like about our hometown and where we wish things were a little better. It is also important to note that these rating factors (purpose, social, financial, community and physical) are largely things that we can change collectively if we want to.

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