Dan and I have figured that over the past 12 years we have easily spent over 1 of those years traveling around the U.S meeting many of our counterparts in a classroom setting. The question always comes up… where is Kansas City? When we get to explain the benefits of the low cost of living, diversified economic base, and unexpected surprises of culture and the arts, curiosity always rises.
Our current unemployment rate of 7.7% and a labor force that contributes 40% more value per hour than the national average* speaks volumes to the old fashioned work ethic that is typical of Kansas Citians. A little more than half of our 2 million metro population makes up that labor force.
Large work forces in manufacturing with companies like Ford and GM, health-care businesses like Cerner and HCA and retail giants like Hallmark have generate skilled workers for new and growing industries.
The Information processing giant DST is just one example of the IT opportunities in KC, employing 5,000 IT workers out of a work force of more than 34,000. The Wall Street Journal selected Kansas City as a national industry hub for IT. In the growing field of biotechnology, the region has more than 20,000 employees in more than 200 biotech companies.
The regional workforce is also highly educated, with the number of those holding college degrees 5 percentage points higher than the national average. In terms of work-force supply and quality, Greater Kansas City is better off on average than many metro areas in the country. Our 2 year climb out of the recession has been at a quicker pace partly because those businesses which have maintained here or are coming here understand our ability to provide a work force that investors demand.
People are one of Kansas City’s biggest treasure and as a result, industry follows.
*US Census Bureau-Maria O’Dell