by Jeff Pinkerton
In 2012, more than 81,000 people moved into the Kansas City metro. Of this population, nearly 19,000 (23 percent) settled in Kansas City, Mo. Overland Park was a distant second on the list with 8,860, followed by the city of Leavenworth. Leavenworth is an unusual case, with the bulk of its migration being tied to military service (or the prison!). The table shows the regional cities with the most new residents from outside the region. Like Leavenworth, the presence of prisons in Cameron and Lansing has boosted their numbers.
It is more interesting to dive deeper into the data and see more precisely where these new residents settled. The census bureau provides this data at the census tract level, which is illustrated in the map below.
There are some clearly defined pockets that tend to draw residents new to the area.
First, the area stretching from the Rockhurst and UMKC campuses through the Plaza and into the KU Medical Center neighborhood stands out. In those tracts, more than 12 percent of the current population moved into the Kansas City area in the past year (3,030 out of 24,597). This makes sense considering the large numbers of students moving into the area.
As we mentioned earlier, Leavenworth stands out on the map; 20 percent of the city’s current population lived outside the Kansas City Metro one year earlier.
In northern Johnson County (just west of Metcalf in Mission), there is a census tract that has large concentration of new residents as well. This is an area with a lot of apartments that may attract recent graduates who are moving to the area. Overall, 18 percent of the population in this tract lived outside the metro area one year ago.
Beyond these pockets, it would appear that Johnson County is a more popular destination for new residents than the Northland or Eastern Jackson County.
This is a relatively new and rich dataset that we are just starting to analyze. Stay tuned for more.
by Jeff Pinkerton
In an earlier post we discussed 10 reasons to be excited about the Kansas City economy in 2014. As we pored through some year-end employment data for the Kansas City metro, we realized that 2013 put the local economy on solid footing to realize those expectations.
For starters, the metro’s unemployment rate dropped to levels we haven’t seen since 2008. The current, seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate stands at 5.6 percent. When compared to the 52 other large metros — those with a population of at least 1 million — Kansas City is seventh-lowest.
The chart below shows a steady overall decline in the unemployment rates since 2010, both seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted. Early 2013 trended relatively flat for Kansas City, but the rates dropped significantly in the fourth quarter.
However, despite lower unemployment rates, Kansas City’s employment growth was pretty unremarkable in 2013, adding just 7,600 jobs from January to December. Much of the region’s total employment growth is attributed to the Professional Business Services sector which grew by 3,600, and the Construction industry which grew by 2,000. The Retail sector was the biggest drain on local employment, losing 4,800 jobs. The infographic below has the employment details for all industries.
by Jeff Pinkerton
We are all familiar with workplace automation. We have seen the huge robotic arms moving and welding car parts on production lines like those at Fairfax and Claycomo. But the robots aren’t stopping at our manufacturing plants. They may soon be taking our places (or at least some of our places) in a wide variety of occupations.
A couple of researchers from Oxford determined the likelihood of 702 unique occupations being essentially eliminated by computerization over the next 10 to 20 years. By their count, about 47 percent of U.S. jobs are at risk.
So, what jobs are most likely to be automated out of existence? Here are the top 10.
Each of these jobs stands a 99-percent likelihood of being automated in the next two decades.
On the robot-safe side of the list, the 10 jobs that are least likely to be automated are:
The complete list can be seen in the report, but basically jobs that are repetitive and labor intensive are prime candidates for automation. Jobs that require human creativity (like teaching) or split-second analysis and decision making (like surgery) are pretty safe from automation.
Some other notable occupations and their percent of likelihood for automation include:
- Elementary School Teacher, 0.44 percent
- Pharmacist, 1.2 percent
- Lawyer, 3.5 percent
- Air Traffic Controller, 11 percent
- Private Detective and Investigator, 31 percent
- Computer Programmer, 48 percent
- Machinist, 65 percent
- Carpenter, 72 percent
- Fast Food Cook, 81 percent
- Retail Salesperson, 92 percent
Now, obviously our need for these skills will not entirely go away, but technology may make it so we will need fewer workers to do the job. Manufacturing is a good example of this. As a nation, manufacturing output is near all-time highs, but manufacturing employment is declining. We are doing more with less labor, due in part to technology and automation.
For real job security, pick a career that requires you to be creative and analytical.
See you next time, hopefully — there is a 43 percent chance that my economist job will soon be taken over by a robot.
by Jeff Pinkerton
Integra Realty Resources released its 2014 forecast earlier this week and the Kansas City market definitely has some bright spots.
The Great Recession is now well in our national rear-view mirror. Most markets across the country are in recovery or expansion mode in the four main real estate segments (office, apartment, retail and industrial).
The Kansas City market is doing particularly well in apartments and industrial real estate, where we fall into the expansion category. This category is marked by decreasing vacancy rates, moderate to high levels of new construction, high absorption rates and higher rental rates.
The apartment segment has been the fastest growing segment on a national level as well, although there are signs that the growth may be slowing.
The Kansas City office and retail segments are still placed in the recovery category, meaning that vacancy rates are starting to decline, but there is little new construction and rental rates haven’t yet begun to rise.
Source: Integra Realty Resources
The main local story is that all four sectors are on the upswing after struggling in the years since the recession, and in the near term, market demand for multi-family housing and industrial space has pushed these two sectors into a more active growth phase.
The full report is available for download at Integra’s website.
by Jeff Pinkerton
A couple of good employment notes to mention today.
After struggling to gain traction since the recession, Kansas City’s employment situation made some solid progress in 2013. The metro’s employment level reached 1,011,200 in November. This is highest point since late 2008. We still aren’t at pre-recession levels, but if 2014 looks anything like 2013, we will get there by year’s end.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
On a related note, the metro’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped below 6 percent (5.9 percent) for the first time since August 2008. (It should be noted that the other sources frequently cite the unemployment rate that is not seasonally adjusted, which currently sits at 5.3 percent for the region.)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Regardless of how you measure it, Kansas City’s employment picture is (finally) becoming brighter and that’s cause for a celebration.
by Jeff Pinkerton
2013 will go down as a decent year for Kansas City’s economy, but the momentum is building for an even better 2014. Here are 10 reasons we should be excited about this new year:
- Employment is rebounding. From January through November of 2013 the metro added nearly 12,000 jobs. By itself this is not a particularly robust figure, but it marks a rebound from 2012 when we added only 7,500 jobs. MARC’s economic forecast projects over 14,000 jobs in 2014.
- High-tech employment is growing. A few months ago, urban economist Joel Kotkin ranked Kansas City 13th overall among the largest metros in the U.S. based on high-tech and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) employment growth between 2001 and 2013. KC has fared particularly well in recent years, with tech industry jobs (software, engineering and computer programming) growing by 18.5 percent between 2010 and 2013. This ranks eighth out of the 51 largest metros in the country ahead of tech centers like Denver and San Jose.
- The housing market is on the rise. Housing prices and home sales jumped in 2013, paving the way for new home construction. Speaking of construction…
- New construction projects start in 2014. The construction industry can look forward to a solid year even beyond new housing as work on projects such as the downtown streetcar and Cerner’s new Bannister Campus get started. Additionally, the Sprint Campus is reaching capacity, which could spur demand for new office development in southern Johnson County.
- Manufacturing will add jobs. Kansas City manufacturing has more than held its own in recent years. While the manufacturing sector shrinks nationwide, Kansas City has done a good job of holding onto its manufacturing jobs. Recent investments by General Motors and Ford will result in new manufacturing jobs in 2014, as will the recent announcement that Aviation Technical Service will bring 600 jobs to KCI’s Overhaul base.
- Downtown keeps developing. Downtown Kansas City will continue to build on its momentum with several new residential and hotel projects and streetcar construction set to begin in 2014.
- The information sector has stabilized. The information sector has been a key reason as to why Kansas City’s overall employment performance has lagged in recent years. After peaking in 2000 at 57,000, employment in this sector dropped to a low of 28,700 jobs in March 2011. Since then, employment has stabilized and crawled back to 30,000.
- Exports have increased. We often don’t think about Kansas City being a key exporting city, but Brookings noted that we averaged an 8.7-percent annual increase in exports between 2009 and 2012, which ranks us 27th out of the largest 100 metros. Our previously mentioned strength in manufacturing promises to move us up the export standings even further in the years ahead.
- Kansas City is a tourist destination. We already know Kansas City is a great place, and that word is getting out as Lonely Planet named KC as a top 10 travel destination in 2014. Kansas City also secured several future NCAA championship events in upcoming years, including the Division II football championships starting in next year. Additionally, Kansas City has submitted a bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.
- Entrepreneurship is still our thing. Kansas City has a strong entrepreneurial tradition and a bright entrepreneurial future. Google Fiber was the centerpiece to the Kansas City Startup Village which is now home to over two dozen startup businesses — and growing! Entrepreneurs can find continued support and networking opportunities through organizations like The Kauffman Foundation’s FastTrac program, KCSourceLink and 1 Million Cups.
And here’s a bonus reason to be excited about 2014:
KC sports teams are back on the map! Hopefully we’ll see a nice Super Bowl run by our resurgent Chiefs at the beginning of this year. Then in spring and summer the Royals will look to improve upon last year’s winning record and advance to their first post season since 1985. Finally, Sporting KC will take to the pitch to defend their freshly minted status as MLS Champions.
All in all, there is a lot to look forward to in 2014!
by Jeff Pinkerton
The Kansas City Star’s Kevin Collison wrote an interesting article about two recent hotel developments that will be built in Kansas City’s urban core without any public incentives. Over the past 20 years, there has been a concerted effort on the part of the city and business interests to revitalize Kansas City’s central business district. Typically, these efforts required the public sector to step in to incentivize private developers in order to make these projects feasible.
Investments in the urban core (such as the Power and Light District, new housing developments, enhancements to the convention center and the upcoming streetcar) have created momentum, and the private sector is jumping on board.
Two hotel developments don’t necessarily make a trend, and we don’t expect this to mark the end of economic incentives in Kansas City development. There will no doubt be projects in the future where public incentives make sense. But it is certainly encouraging to know that private developers are looking at Kansas City as an investment opportunity, with or without incentives.