For the last few decades, Johnson County has had a deserved reputation as a job-creating magnet for the Kansas City metropolitan area.
But recent numbers show the county isn’t doing as well as it once was, especially since the economic slowdown hit hard more than four years ago. Indeed, several other local counties are holding up better than Johnson County when it comes to the job market.
Figures from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages — which is part of the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics — reveal that the region is struggling to get back to where it was at the end of 2008.
And Johnson County is part of the problem.
• For 2012, the last year for which annual figures are available, Johnson County had an annual average of 310,178 jobs. But that was more than 2 percent lower than the 317,772 average for 2008, the highest recorded in the county’s history.
• Wyandotte County actually fared better than its more prosperous neighbor. That county posted an average of 84,058 jobs in 2012, which was 4 percent higher than in 2008.
• Over on the Missouri side, Cass and Platte counties did better than Johnson County when it came to keeping their total number of jobs from 2008 to 2012. Cass didn’t post any significant change, while Platte was down 1 percent.
• The only counties that lost a higher percentage of jobs between 2008 and 2012 were Jackson County, down 6 percent, and Clay County, down 4 percent.
True, the overall local job market is healthier than it was in 2009 and 2010. But the pace of job creation remains disappointing, including in Johnson County.