Yael T. Abouhalkah

July 17, 2014

Triple whammy: New, dismal jobs reports for Brownback, Nixon and KC area

Pore over the new jobs reports out this week and no really positive news emerges for Kansas and Gov. Sam Brownback, Missouri and Gov. Jay Nixon or for the economically struggling Kansas City metropolitan region.

Pore over the new jobs reports out this week and three things become evident. And none of it is good news.

nsas is still struggling to gain jobs despite the huge tax breaks Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature endorsed in 2012.

In fact, with 1,384,700 total nonfarm employment in June according to seasonally adjusted figures, Kansas has lost 200 jobs since November of 2013.

Kansas thus remains one of a handful of states across the nation that actually has fewer employees now than it had at that point last year.

To be clear, the Brownback administration was celebrating the fact that the total number of jobs moved higher by 500 people from May to June. That’s politically fine to do in an election year, of course, but it doesn’t obscure the actual fact that state employment has basically been flat for the last seven months.

Bottom line: This was not an uplifting report for Brownback’s re-election chances.

Meanwhile, after many positive months of growth, Missouri had a bad month of job losses in June.

The state had 1,800 fewer employees than in May, not the kind of news Gov. Jay Nixon likes to hear.

However, over a longer term, Missouri had gained 18,100 jobs since November of 2013. That’s a far better performance than in Kansas, with its loss of 200 jobs over the same time period.

Oh, and that’s without the destructive tax polices of its next-door neighbor, something Nixon needs to point out.

Finally, the Kansas City metropolitan area jobs report showed a gain of only 1,800 jobs from May to June of this year.

That’s bad enough news, but here’s an even more sobering statistic.

Since June of 2013, the region on both sides of the state line has gained just 1,500 jobs. That’s a year-over-year growth rate of .15 percent. Yikes.

This is the latest evidence that this region is in trouble when it comes to attracting businesses and jobs.

I wrote a whole column about this huge concern last week.

I then heard from some civic leaders who agreed we have a problem but also from several businessmen who think the status quo is working.

No, it’s not.

To reach editorial columnist Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.

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