Kansas City area employers added 23,900 payroll jobs from June 2016 to June 2017, and the area’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent from 4.5 percent over the 12 months.
Preliminary data published Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated a relatively healthy employment market, with a 2.2 percent job growth and about 8,000 fewer unemployed job hunters this June than last.
Also on Wednesday, the Conference Board published its Help Wanted OnLine index for July that included the Kansas City area among 12 cities nationally where there were more posted job openings than unemployed workers.
For Kansas City, the supply of openings barely exceeded the demand for jobs, as measured by the jobless rate, but the near balance did indicate that employers have positions available that could be filled by the area’s available workforce.
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A series of local job fairs and “on the spot” hiring events in the metro area indicate that many employers are having trouble filling their open positions. The difficulty largely is attributed to a mismatch in the skills, interests or pay expectations between potential employees and the employers.
In fact, labor market analysts often use 4 percent as a break point, describing lower rates as “full employment.” When a city’s jobless rate settles under 4 percent, it usually indicates that people who truly want to work can get a job, though the job might not fit their pay or career wishes.
According to the Conference Board’s tally, the Kansas City area had 39,900 online job postings in July.
The labor department’s report for June said nonfarm employers in the Kansas City area had 1,095,800 employees drawing paychecks, compared with 1,071,900 in June 2016.
The report also measured a small drop of 3,580 in the size of the area’s civilian labor force.
The report doesn’t measure reasons for the decline, which could be attributed to many things, such as retirements, relocations, or people who stopped working or looking for work in order to care for family, deal with health issues or because of disillusionment about available jobs.