People seeking construction work in Kansas City may be out of luck this year. Over 5,000 construction jobs have been cut there in the past year, an overall decrease by 10.3%. According to a study conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction, the city’s construction work dropped 35% during this year’s first three quarters alone, down to $1.2 billion.
Other areas of employment that saw worker losses included various non-farm employment, such as trade, mining, professional and business services, manufacturing, transportation and logging. The local American Airlines is also closing a base in the city, which will result in at least 700 job losses within the next year—not just affecting mechanics and managers in Kansas City, but in other cities as well, including St. Louis, Minneapolis, Detroit, San Jose, and San Francisco. Some workers may also be transferred between these locations.
The good news is that the numbers do not reflect unemployment as a whole. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate, below the national average, has remained unchanged from the previous month at 8.9%.
It still remains higher than the previous year’s unemployment rate, which was 6.1%; but no increase is good news. And given that from last year to this year, the increase was 2.8%, the outlook seems brighter than many areas faced with much deeper losses. Plus, it’s also on the lower side for most metro cities, giving Kansas City a possible advantage for earlier recovery.
In fact, the number of unemployed workers did drop, if only by a small margin. In September, Kansas City saw 93,900 unemployed workers, while in August, there were 94,200. Some areas even saw an increase in jobs, particularly in the fields of health services and education, which added 1,900 positions.
Perhaps local carpenters could find employment within the city Hope Project. Federal stimulus money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was recently given to the city to help prevent homelessness—as well as to help re-house people who have lost their homes as quickly as possible. The Hope Project has since been established to carry out these tasks.
Though it doesn’t mandate funds for the building of new properties—rather, it gives landlords assistance with rent and other fees—it will certainly create a greater demand for housing repairs and other handyman or mechanical needs. Hopefully this will result in at least a few job openings for local carpenters.