Area jobless rate was 6.9 percent in February

Total nonfarm employment in the metropolitan area stood at 987,600 in February 2014. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said that number was unchanged from February 2013. The Missouri side of the Kansas City area accounted for 55 percent of the area’s workforce and the Kansas side 45 percent.

Democrats turn up the pressure for pay equity

President Barack Obama signed executive actions barring federal contractors from retaliating against workers for comparing salaries and requiring those employers to report compensation data to the government by gender and race. That came as Democratic lawmakers blasted congressional Republicans for opposing legislation to expand measures aimed at preventing gender-based pay discrimination.

Job loss from the recession is erased, but job quality is a concern

The milestone March jobs report said private and nonprofit employers had erased the 8.8 million deficit of jobs shed during the economic downturn and faltering recovery. But nobody is lighting celebration candles just yet. The U.S. population has grown by 15 million since 2008, meaning that more jobs may be needed. Also, many of the new jobs are in relatively low-wage service occupations, offer only part-time hours, or are temporary.

‘Wage theft’ is rallying cry for some area fast-food workers

A new issue is growing out of labor’s drive for a higher minimum wage for fast-food employees: wage theft, an umbrella term for failing to pay workers what they’re legally owed. It came to the forefront Thursday in front of three McDonald’s and Burger King restaurants in midtown Kansas City. The midday rally by the StandUpKC coalition was attended by about 250 members of the fast-food workforce, labor unions, and the faith, justice and legal communities.

Human Rights Campaign to recognize employer diversity

Twenty-five employers will be honored Wednesday by the Human Rights Campaign for their commitments to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights. The event at the Hallmark Cards headquarters recognizes nondiscrimination policies, benefits, diversity training and other resources for LGBT workers, consumers and job seekers.

With a week left in open enrollment period, Obamacare canvassers comb neighborhoods

Armed with stacks of handouts about the Affordable Care Act, canvassers are going door to door in Kansas City’s urban neighborhoods asking people whether they are interested in enrolling in ACA health plans. How well the campaigns succeed in these final days before the March 31 deadline for open enrollment will be crucial not only for gaining coverage for the nation’s uninsured this year.

Sprint is closing Overland Park call center, cutting about 200 jobs

Call centers in Sacramento, Calif., and Elmsford, N.Y., also are closing. A television station in Florida reported a fourth call center in Orlando, Fla., will lay off about 400 people. And in Fort Worth, Texas, according to the newspaper there, 450 jobs are being cut at that city’s call center. Overall, the paper reported, Sprint is cutting 1,550 customer service jobs, citing greater efficiencies.