KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Wyandotte County created more jobs last year than most other counties in the metro area, according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Firms have been hiring in the industrial districts of Kansas City, Kan. Best Harvest, a baker that provides buns for fast food restaurants, is one of the firms planning to expand and add workers.
For the fourth quarter of last year, jobs in Wyandotte County increased by nearly 3.5 percent. That's nearly twice the national average.
Economic development experts say many of the new jobs are coming out of the manufacturing sector. A central industrial park is expected to create 2,000 new jobs in Kansas City, Kan., and more than a million square feet of new industrial plants.
Wyandotte County's manufacturing jobs in grew 5.7 percent from 2010 to 2013. The rest of the metro saw less than 3 percent growth in manufacturing jobs.
"We have a very strong manufacturing base and every company that we are talking to right now really has sense of job growth," said Greg Kindle of the Wyandotte Economic Development Council. "There's pent up demand and opportunities for the manufacturing sector, which also then leads to a transportation sector that's growing. We're seeing increases in hospitality and retail sectors but importantly, the most important sector is really that manufacturing sector."
The federal report says Johnson County saw only 2.5 percent job growth and Jackson County less than .5 percent growth. Wyandotte County also leads other Kansas cities. Wichita had only 1.2 percent growth, Topeka 1.8 percent, which is the national average.
An employer in KCK says the key for Wyandotte County is making sure there's a qualified workforce available for the good paying manufacturing jobs that are being created. The county still has a high unemployment rate, which means many of the new jobs are going to people who don't live in Wyandotte County.