Kansas/Kansas City Economy

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Kansas City (KC) was once the second largest meat packing industry in the world, second only to Chicago. The opening of the KC Stockyards by the railroads catapulted the city into an important shipping point for many goods and services.

Today, the city has diversified into a transportation, medical, and manufacturing center. International trade is emerging as an important inter-jurisdictional issue in the Midwest region. The 1998 Mid-Continent TradeWay Study reinforced this reality. This study found that a significant amount of international cargo is already processed in or passes through the KC region.

The principal industrial activity in Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS involves:

  • Automobile manufacturing and distribution
  • Railroads
  • Bakery products
  • Meat processing
  • Agriculture continues to be important in the rural area west of the city 

The most recent population estimates show that the KC MSA is picking up the pace population-wise. The 14-county metro population now stands at 2,104,509. This is an increase of 90,774 since 2010. Also currently, the region ranks 15th among peer metros in GDP, 12th in quality jobs, and 12th in median household income. See Mid-America Regional Council for more information on the local economy.

KC offers excellent transportation and marketing advantages for your business. We’re home to numerous production facilities, warehouses and distribution centers that make it easier, cheaper, and more profitable to ship raw materials and finished goods when you’re located in the nation’s heartland. 

Current Unemployment Rate

The following data is from the Kansas Department of Labor and displays detailed information on Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment for Kansas City, KS.

Workers Employed

This summary of data regards the Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 965,900

Number of workers employed in:

Construction & Mining 50,800
Manufacturing 83,700
Trade, Transportation & Utilities 202,200
Information 45,300
Financial Activities 70,900
Professional & Business Services 127,700
Educational & Health Services 108,900
Leisure & Hospitality 92,300
Other Services 40,400
Government 143,900


The Kansas economy has expanded from its original base in agribusiness into an economy with a diverse mix of  growing industries. Wichita remains one of the great aviation hubs on the planet, earning the city the title of “Air Capital of the World.” The state is one of the nation’s fastest-growing bioscience hubs thanks to the under-construction National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility and the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, a region that houses the world’s largest concentration of animal health interests. Kansas has also emerged as a leader in wind energy  and other forms of renewable energy, food processing and distribution. 

Incentive Programs

Looking for a great place to grow your business? A place with low operating costs, talented workers and business-friendly policies?

Kansas offers a diverse economy perfect for your business. The Unified Government and the state are thriving and are competitive in manufacturing, professional services and wholesale and retail trades. Take a look at some of the incentives that are available locally and on the state level that can help support your business.

Unified Government Incentive Programs
State of Kansas Incentive Programs


The Kansas City area economy is diverse and plays a major role and influence in the Midwest region. Based on the 2004 population figures by the United States Census Bureau, the Kansas City Metropolitan Area is ranked 27th among US cities.

Both the geographic and population centers of the United States lie within 250 miles of Kansas City, making the metropolitan area a natural hub for intermodal transportation, warehousing, manufacturing, and distribution. The trade, transportation, and utilities category is the region's largest employer; government is second, followed by professional and business services, then educational and health services.

Largest Employers in Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS

University of Kansas Hospital 6,500
Cerner Contniuous Campus 4,000
General Motors 3,998
Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools 3,400
University of Kansas Medial Center (KUMC) 4,000
Unified Government of WyCo/KCK 2,208
Associate Wholesale Grocers 1,100
Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad 1,200
Amazon Fulfillment Center 1,100
United Parcel Service 900
Kansas City Kansas Community College 900
Swift Transporation 600
Keebler Foods 550
Kansas City Board of Public Utilities 357