Central Missouri Economic Development Alliance
CMEDA - Workforce
The West Central Missouri Region includes Bates, Benton, Caldwell, Carroll, Cass, Chariton, Cooper, Henry, Hickory, Howard, Johnson, Lafayette, Moniteau, Morgan, Pettis, Ray, Saline, and St. Clair Counties in Missouri, plus portions of Clay and Jackson Counties east of Kansas City.  The purpose of this report is to assess the “Available Labor Pool” in this labor basin. The “Available Labor Pool” represents those who indicate that they are looking for employment or would consider changing their jobs for the right employment opportunity.

The Docking Institute’s independent analysis of this labor basin shows that:

  • The population of the West Central Missouri Region is 528,679. About 30% of the population (or 163,525 individuals) is considered to be part of the Available Labor Pool.
  • Of the non-working members of the Available Labor Pool, an estimated 15,321 (9.4%) are currently looking for work and 24,729 (15.1%) are interested in working for the right opportunities. Of the working members of the Available Labor Pool, 28,391 (17.4%) are currently looking for work, while 95,084 (58.1%) are interested in a different job given the right opportunities.
  • Almost 69% of the Available Labor Pool has at least some college experience and almost 96% has at least a high school diploma.  The average age for members of the Available Labor Pool is about 45 years old, and women make up slightly less than half (47%) of the Available Labor Pool.
  • An estimated 28,042 members of the Available Labor Pool are currently employed as general laborers, while an additional 16,525 work in government services or technical/high skill blue-collar occupations. An estimated 56,284 members of the Available Labor Pool work in service sector jobs, while 22,501 work in professional white-collar jobs.  Many (40,173) are not currently working.
  • Almost 80% of the Available Labor Pool indicates that they are “willing to work outside of their primary field of employment for a new or different employment opportunity.”
  • Slightly more than half (51.6%) of the members of the Available Labor Pool will commute up to 45 minutes, one way, for an employment opportunity, while almost 89% will commute up to 30 minutes for employment.
  • The five most important desired benefits in order are good salary or hourly wage, good retirement benefits, good health benefits, good vacation benefits, and on-the-job or paid training.
  • An estimated 27,892 members (17%) of the Available Labor Pool are interested in a new job at $10 an hour, 62,357 (38%) are available at $15 an hour, and 94,424 (58%) are available at $20 an hour.
  • Of the 123,352 members in the subset of employed members of the Available Labor Pool, 39,733 (32%) consider themselves underemployed.
  • A comparison of data presented in 2012 and 2015 for the labor region suggests that there is a larger proportion of employed members of the 2015 pool than the 2012 pool. The structure of the 2015 is similar to the 2005 pool, suggesting the recent recession affected the pool structures presented in the 2009 and 2012 reports.
For more detail information about the CMEDA Workforce, download the latest Regional Labor Basin study or individual county reports from the listing on our Resources page.
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