The Kansas City labor market deviates from the federal jobs picture in significant ways. That’s according to local and national reports released on August 2.
Unemployment locally stayed stuck at 6.6 percent, where it’s been for some months, according to the Workforce Report by the Mid-America Regional Council.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported a slight drop in unemployment in July, but analysts were quick to point out most of the new jobs were either low paying or part-time.
Nationally and locally, however, there were some bright spots, says Jeff Pinkerton, senior researcher with MARC.
"There was strong growth in finance and wholesale (nationally) and we’ve shown significant growth in those sectors as well," he says.
Pinkerton says even though local employment numbers stayed stagnant, new jobs were added.
Good jobs, according to Pinkerton, in the sector known as professional services: lawyers, engineers, architects, administrative, and I.T. jobs.
This sector has been the fastest growing sector locally, adding jobs at a remarkable pace of 12 percent over the last 2 years.
Except Cerner, which announced an expansion into Bannister Mall on Friday and has been growing consistently, many of the new jobs are in the small business sector, Pinkerton says.
"A lot of companies in those fields (have) added five to ten employees. Hundreds of those add up," he says.
Cuts in government jobs, both locally and nationally, also account for much of the sluggish turnaround.