We invite you to join us for MARC’s 17th Annual Regional Assembly and Regional Leadership awards on Friday, June 7, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Crown Center.
As someone who is interested in efforts and initiatives which improve our region, we think you will be particularly interested in hearing our keynote speaker, Peter Block — an internationally known author and expert on what it takes to build community.
We will also recognize four Regional Leadership Award honorees:
- Todd Ackerson, Rescue Division Chief, Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department. Todd will be honored for his leadership in preparing, equipping and training specialty response teams that stand ready to respond to emergencies across the region and beyond.
- Mike Burke and Ray Daniels, co-chairs of the Mayors’ Bistate Innovations Team and KC Digital Drive Advisory Council. Mike and Ray have led the way in helping our region determine how to best take advantage unique opportunity brought to Kansas City with Google’s first high-speed fiber network.
- CASA of Jackson County and CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties. These two organizations will be recognized for their innovative collaboration that crosses state lines to improve service to abused and neglected children in the region.
- Eric Rogers, executive director of BikeWalkKC. Eric will be honored for his leadership in making the Kansas City region more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.
To register, visit www.marc.org/annualmeeting.htm or call 816/701-8234. The cost is $45 for individual registrations and $425 for a table of 10, including lunch and parking validation.
We hope to see you at the event. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 816/474-4240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Jeff Pinkerton
Professional business services, financial services and leisure-hospitality are the employment sectors with the most local job growth over the past year. In fact, these were the only three sectors in the Kansas City area to see employment gains in the year ending March 2013.
Industry-specific data is not seasonally adjusted, so to provide a realistic comparison we need to look at employment change on a year-over-year basis.
Some of the trends are reflective of long-term realities. The information industry, for instance, is one that has experienced employment decline both locally and nationally for years.
Other trends are more likely short-term. As we have noted before, we expect to see employment in construction to finally begin to take a turn for the better in the next few months, as the housing market is showing signs of a comeback.
Additionally, we recently received great manufacturing employment news, as both GM and Ford announced commitments to add thousands to the local workforce. It will take some time for the two plants to build and expand their facilities, so we may not see these new manufacturing jobs immediately. But we know that our local manufacturing sector — and the region’s overall employment base — will receive a shot in the arm in the not-too-distant future.
by Richard Shipley
What is it about Kansas City that we all love? Is it the cars, trucks and lawnmowers that we build? Is it the ever-growing list of writers and artists? Maybe it’s the food, both in the stores and in our restaurants. Or, is it the people? Got to be the people, right? But what is the connection between the people and our economy?
Every vehicle, every bar of soap each food product that is made here in KC is much more than just another product on a shelf. It’s a connection. A connection to our community, a connection to the people and their careers, their families. The people who make these products are not faceless and half a world away; they live here. Some of our kids could go to school together. They could be at the next Sporting KC match. We probably pass some of them on the highway each day.
When we buy the products that the people in our community make, we are linked to them. But what is made here? What can you and I buy at the store to support our neighbors and build a stronger, more vibrant local economy?
Until recently, there wasn’t a resource to find these products, so we developed Made in KC, an online catalog of retail products from Greater Kansas City and the surrounding area. Companies and brands listed on this site are headquartered here and/or produced here. This may be or may
not be a very different way of looking at “local” for some of us. Remember that we now live in a world where products and services are moved and used across the globe in ways never before seen.
So, in a world like this, what is local? What is the definition of made? On this site, you will find brands that are designed here but made elsewhere, made here but designed elsewhere and both designed here and made here. Their connection is that they are all tied to Kansas City through the people that they employ. It’s available online through our site, http://www.LocalStart.org, and as an app on the android platform. (Apple users, give us a sec, we’re workin’ on it.)
Let’s take a closer look at the complexity of products from KC by looking at some clothing companies. Lee Jeans was founded by Henry David Lee in Salina back in 1889 and now resides in Merriam. Lee’s products are not produced here, but they are headquartered here and employ sales, marketing and designers. Camp David Apparel, headquartered in Overland Park, doesn’t produce its garments here but does all the design work and emblem work here, so the garments are only part of their overall product. Baldwin Denim, whose brick and mortar store is in Leawood, designs its denim pants here, manufactures them in a warehouse in California, then hems and fits them to each customer here in KC. Then we have christianMICHEAL who was nominated for “Best Local Designer” in 2008 by KC Magazine. He, like many local fashion designers, designs and produces his garments here in KC
With this sample, ’’ts clear that KC is home to a diverse range of company sizes, but how do we support the growth of our hometown and encourage job creation? Perhaps the same way we, as a nation, have encouraged social changes in the market in the past, by voting with our dollars.
So, picture this: you’re at the store and you need some coffee. I know I always seem to. But what is made in KC? You pop out your phone and open the Made in KC app or site, search coffee, and get a list of local coffee roasters. The first thing you will notice is that there are more roasters listed than available at the store — I’ve yet to find a grocer that carries all of them — but after a moment, you find a brand that is made here and you’re off. Later when you’re drinking it, you take a moment to reflect on the subtle reality that the few dollars that were spent on the product made here instead of elsewhere is fueling the livelihood of someone who lives here, someone who — like you — has chosen KC as home. And you bought it from a company that may have sponsored the last 5k race you ran or that festival you took your family to.
So, jeans and coffee are great but what else is made here? Warm weather is (hopefully) here, so how about lawnmowers? Look under the Lawn and Garden category and you will find Billy Goat Industries and Swisher Mower & Machine Co. Billy Goat produces a self-propelled outdoor vacuum that, last fall, I know, would have saved me time raking leaves.
Speaking of warm weather, it won’t be long before folks will be heading to the lakes for a little weekend R&R. Tracker Boats builds the Nitro out in Clinton, Mo., and that Z9 model looks like a nice way to pull in a large-mouth bass. Maybe take that bass home and serve it with something from Original Juan, cook it up in a skillet from Vita Craft Corporation with some Fiesta Juan’s Salsa and throw it into one of Mama Lupe’s Little Guy Tortillas with some shredded cheese from Alma Creamery. Even top it off with a little sour cream from Belfonte. So, now we have the fish tacos, what do we wash them down with? Most of us know Boulevard Brewing Co could cover us on that, but so could Free State Brewing Company who, according to The Pitch, just added a new bottling plant east of Lawrence. We could take the tacos outside for a picnic or have them inside at a kitchen table from Polivka Studio. All in all, it sounds like a great way to spend the weekend — both having a good time and supporting growth in our local economy.
My name is Richard W. Shipley and I founded LocalStart.org in fall 2011 in direct response to the Great Recession. We are a nonprofit organization working on local economic development and job creation in the Greater Kansas City and the surrounding area. We believe that Kansas City has all the elements needed to show the world how to operate a smarter, more sustainable local economy. We’re here to take “Buy Local” to the next level, not only by discussing why voting with our dollars is important, but also by building tools to do it with. Made in KC is our flagship project and we hope you find it useful the next time you go to the store. Visit us online at www.LocalStart.org and see our other projects, too.
by Jeff Pinkerton
A few weeks ago, we looked at how certain occupations tended to be dominated by one gender or another. Some occupations had unusual proportions of minority workers. Lower-paid occupations tended to have higher numbers of women and non-white workers. This was particularly true for non-whites.
This called into question the role of educational attainment. Is it really race or gender that drives these discrepancies, or does it have more to do with education levels? Today, we will try to shed some light on the role of educational attainment in this occupation question.
First, let’s look at educational attainment by race in the Kansas City area. The chart below shows that the white, non-Hispanic population has an overall higher level of educational attainment than non-Hispanic minorities and Hispanics — 36 percent of whites aged 25-and-over have at least a bachelor’s degree, and only 7 percent have less than a high school education. In contrast, more than one-third of the Hispanic population has less than a high school education and just 16 percent have a bachelor’s degree or greater. The non-white, non-Hispanic population falls in the middle of these two groups.
Interestingly, when we compare by gender (regardless of race or ethnicity) there is no significant difference between male and female levels of education. The chart below shows that for both men and women, roughly one-third have at least a bachelor’s degree and about 10 percent have less than a high school education.
Analyzing this data, it would appear that education does play a significant role in the occupation mix for minorities. Lower overall levels of education often translate into jobs that do not require high levels of skill and therefore offer lower pay.
Now, the question is what causes this disparity in educational attainment? Volumes have been written on this topic and there are numerous initiatives underway right here in Kansas City to begin to address this issue. Unfortunately, this is an issue that will likely take generations to resolve.
On the gender side, education is not a factor, but there still appears to be stereotyping in certain occupations. We addressed this in a previous post. The belief that teaching and nursing jobs are for women while engineers and business executives should be men are old-fashioned, but they do persist. Many of the occupations traditionally dominated by women tend to pay less. This, too, is changing, but it is also changing slowly.
by Jeff Pinkerton
Earlier this week, we were asked to analyze sales taxes in the KC metro. You can see the presentation here. If you want to see how your city or county stacks up to others in the region, you can get a list of all tax rates (city, county and special district) in Missouri and Kansas from the respective departments of revenue.
A few of the key takeaways:
- The state of Kansas (6.3 percent state sales tax rate) claims a larger portion of the overall sales tax than the state of Missouri (4.225 percent).
- Overall tax rates tend to balance out, though, as Missouri cities generally have higher rates than Kansas cities.
- Special taxing districts (Community Improvement Districts and Transportation Development Districts) are increasing in popularity on both sides of the state line. Sales tax rates in these special districts are frequently topping 9 percent and in some instances 10 percent.
by Jeff Pinkerton
As we continue to analyze the Kansas City regional economy, we’re keeping tabs on the local housing market. The Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors (KCRAR) just released monthly data for March, and the positive beat goes on. Overall, KCRAR reports 2,324 home sales in March, up from 2,158 one year earlier. Total home sales prices are also up, to an average of $165,885, compared to $156,945 over the same period last year. The average price of a new home was $336,181 while existing homes sold at an average price of $151,140.
The chart below shows a definite upward trend in monthly home sales. The gray line shows actual monthly home sales, while the dark line shows the same data with a 12-month moving average to compensate for seasonal fluctuations. Monthly home sales have been trending upwards since the middle of 2011.
The same is true for average sales price, shown in the chart below. Prices for both new and existing homes have trended up since the beginning of 2012.
by Jeff Pinkerton
It is no secret that the U.S. has been moving from a goods-producing economy to a service-providing economy for a long time. A recent article by Richard Florida looks at which metro areas might be better at adapting to this transition.
Nationwide, services’ share of economic output (as measured by GDP) exceeds goods production by a 3-to-1 ratio.
In Kansas City, our services-to-goods ratio is 5.35-to-1, ranking eighth overall out of the largest 50 metros.
So is this a good thing or a bad thing? It’s probably a good thing. On the plus side, this high ratio seems to indicate that the Kansas City economy has adapted well to the service economy. But “services” is a broad category. It includes highly skilled jobs like engineering and IT as well as less-skilled jobs like food services and hospitality.
The Kansas City area has experienced growth at both ends of the spectrum — high and low skilled services — in recent years.
Typically, we’d rather see more growth in the higher-skilled (and higher paid) jobs in the region. But, as we noted in our last post, employment growth has been a concern here in the Kansas City area. Lesser-skilled service jobs are better than no jobs at all.
So for now, we’ll call it a positive that our region seems to be well-structured for the service economy.