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5 Major Industries Leading Kansas City Business Today


Kansas City’s business history dates to the mid-19th century when the city served as a key destination during the nation’s westward expansion. The city's location at the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas rivers made it an ideal location for trade and commerce. Over the years, the city’s economy has diversified to include major industries like healthcare, retail, and technology. Today, Kansas City continues to be a thriving center of business and commerce in the Midwest, employing over a million people. Employment in the metropolitan area continues to rise steadily – as the area welcomed 28,700 new jobs over the past year.

The metro area is already home to several Fortune 1,000 companies. Kansas City is poised to be a top contender for entrepreneurs looking to establish a business, thanks to its favorable tax structures, vibrant culture, and skilled workforce. It's no surprise that the metropolitan area was voted the number one city for start-up growth.

Today, Kansas City’s economic foundation is primarily based on five major industries that are fueling employment growth.


1. Healthcare

Major Economic Driver

Healthcare is a significant economic driver in Kansas City. The industry is the largest contributor of employment in the area – 82,386 jobs - making it a vital industry for the local economy.


Established Institutions

The area is home to numerous hospitals and medical centers. The University of Kansas Hospital, Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, and Children’s Mercy Hospital are the three largest establishments ranked by revenue in the area. Additionally, several leading research centers are sprouting up in the area, charged with studying cancer, neuroscience, and cardiovascular disease.


Growing Number of Opportunities Projected

Nurse practitioners and Registered Nurses are expected to be in high demand due to an aging population and an ongoing shortage of healthcare workers. Likewise, Medical and Health Service Managers roles are expected to grow to oversee the expanding industry.


2. Tech

Booming Start-Up Scene 

The area is fertile ground for tech startups looking to innovate and disrupt traditional industries. In fact, of the 191 Kansas City companies founded since 2017, 64 are tech start-ups.


Focus on Emerging Technologies 

Tech start-ups in this Midwest hub have placed a significant emphasis on emerging technologies within artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. Take for example local tech start-up, TripleBlind. This software company has effectively used algorithms to reduce the risks associated with transferring protected patient information between healthcare organizations. Expect to see more tech start-ups leverage artificial intelligence to influence business practices in the future.



Over the next decade, Software Developers, Analysts, and Testers are anticipated to experience an increase in job opportunities in the area.


3. Retail

Diverse Range of Established Players

Locally owned boutiques, department stores, shopping centers, and major national chains have a well-established footprint in the area.

Second Largest Industry

Retail continues to be a significant economic driver despite experiencing a downward trend in job existence. While some jobs have disappeared due to the rise of e-commerce, the retail industry remains a major player in the Kansas City economy.


Positions Actively Hiring

Retail Salesperson has the largest number of online job postings in the Kansas City region at 6,118. Retail Supervisors are not far behind in terms of job posting, painting a clear picture of the resiliency in retail hiring for the area.


4. Manufacturing 

Industry Direction

The manufacturing sector ranks fifth in terms of employment in the area. Technology is forecasted to play a significant role in furthering industry growth as things like automation, robotics, and 3D printing influence the industry.


Diverse Range of Product Offerings

The city's strategic location and robust infrastructure make it an ideal destination for manufacturers looking to expand their operations. Manufacturing of automotive parts, consumer goods, energy, and food and beverage products in large amounts is conducted in the area.


Highly Concentrated Roles in the Area

The area has a high density of roles in transportation equipment manufacturing, paper manufacturing, petroleum & coal manufacturing, and computer manufacturing.


5. Finance

Home to Established Players 

The finance industry in the metropolitan area is primarily composed of banking, insurance, and investment management firms. American Century Investments, UMB Financial Corporation, and Commerce Bank are among the largest recognizable finance companies with locations in Kansas City.


Growing Fintech Scene 

The proliferation of fintech startups in the area is a testament to the city's strong financial and technology industries helping to create innovative solutions in areas such as payments, lending, and financial management. Take fintech start-up PayIt for example - this digital government service mobile app and web platform allows citizens to pay their bills and fees to local and state government agencies.


Positions Prospering in the Area

Financial-orientated careers such as Accountants, Auditors, and Market Research Analysts & Specialists are highly coveted by employers in the metro area.


Future Outlook for Kansas City’s Economy

The future for Kansas City's economy is bright. Diversified industries and a favorable business climate continue to attract top talent and businesses. With a population of over two million people, the metropolitan area is poised for continued growth in industries such as healthcare, technology, retail, manufacturing, and finance, all of which offer a range of job opportunities for both experienced professionals and new graduates.

As the city continues to innovate and invest in emerging technologies, it is well-positioned to become a major hub for start-ups and entrepreneurs. Furthermore, with a thriving cultural scene and favorable tax policies, Kansas City is primed to remain a leading destination for businesses and individuals seeking a dynamic and high-quality lifestyle in the Midwest.

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