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The top industries and employers in Kansas City

Learn about the biggest industries and employers in the Kansas City area with this guide to local business.

downtown KC skyline

A skyline full of opportunity.

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Table of Contents

More than 1 million people (and thousands of businesses) contribute to the Kansas City metro’s $145.95 billion economy. But have you ever wondered about KC’s heaviest hitters?

Consider this Kansas City Business 101 — your guide to our region’s five key industries and 10 major employers.

Note: When we say Kansas City metro, that refers to the Missouri counties of Bates, Caldwell, Cass, Clay, Jackson, Lafayette, Platte, and Ray; and the Kansas counties of Douglas, Franklin, Johnson, Leavenworth, Linn, Miami, and Wyandotte.

The key industries

There are five key industries that represent the Kansas City metro’s economy, based on data from the Kansas City Area Development Council. We’ve listed them in order of employment numbers.

Bioscience | 113,969 employees
The KC region is a proven global leader in animal health, drug development, diagnostics, and clinical research. The region offers a strong network of expertise + knowledge for human and animal health companies — all working to grow their businesses and advance their technologies.

Technology | 106,461 employees
Our tech sector is growing faster than the national average, directly contributing almost 10% to the regional economy. One in every 10 workers in KC is employed by the tech industry — with 3,900+ tech companies in the metro, ranging from startups to global enterprises.

Distribution | 102,410 employees
KC is the most centrally located major US market — making it the focal point of movement + distribution of goods. With that being said, we are currently experiencing one of the largest industrial booms in KC history. It is a popular metro of choice for distribution due in large part to the region’s abundant, multi-modal transportation network.

Financial Services | 79,900 employees
The diverse and well-balanced economy, network infrastructure, and skilled workforce of KC makes it attractive to the financial services industry.

Food and Beverage | 26,921 employees
680+ industrial food and beverage companies call KC home — and it’s not hard to see why. KC’s food and beverage industry continues to thrive with proximity to key agriculture markets, advanced logistics infrastructure, and a strong industry-specific talent pipeline.

The major players

Now that we’ve established the major industries, we bet you’re curious for specific names. Whether you’re job hunting (or just “casually prospecting”), here are 10 major employers — all that employ more than 50,000 workers in the region combined.

Food and Drug Administration | 41,423 employees | Bioscience | Search jobs
The Kansas City Laboratory — located in Lenexa, KS — is responsible for testing for toxic elements, pesticides, and mycotoxins in food, feed, and dietary supplements.

T-Mobile | 4,000 employees | Technology | Search jobs
Can you hear us now? This internet access network has a headquarters located in Overland Park, KS, plus stores throughout the region.

UMB Financial Corporation | 1,879 employees | Financial services | Search jobs
This bank offers financial services from checking + savings accounts to wealth management. Fun fact: it was founded in KC in 1913.

Ford Motor Inc. | 7,310 employees | Distribution | Search jobs
This assembly facility produces and distributes the Ford F-150 and the Ford Transit. Does that make KC built tough too?

Tyson Foods | 1,299 employees | Food and beverage industry | Search jobs
The company is the world’s second-largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork.

University of Kansas Health System | 14,323 employees | Bioscience | Search jobs
If you’ve ventured to Tiki Taco or Prospero’s Books on West 39th Street, you’ve probably noticed one of the nation’s top medical schools looming large right next door.

Kansas City National Security Campus | 7,800 employees | Manufacturing, IT | Search jobs
Managed by Honeywell FM&T, this 1.95 million-sqft facility develops ~80% of the non-nuclear components of the US’s nuclear weapons systems.

Burns & McDonnell | 5,200 employees | Architectural Engineering | Search jobs
Headquartered here in KC, Burns & McDonnell landed No. 7 on Engineering News-Record’s 2024 Top 500 Design Firms list.

Garmin International, Inc. | 4,744 employees | Distribution, Manufacturing, IT | Search jobs
If you’re old enough to remember buying a GPS separate from your car, you’re likely already familiar with this Olathe-headquartered tech biz.

Hallmark Cards, Inc. | 4,480 employees | Distribution, Manufacturing | Search jobs
Founded here in 1910, the iconic greeting card company is a fixture of the city’s business landscape — with it’s headquarters sitting right beside the aptly named Crown Center.

This information is derived from the most recent data published by the Kansas City Area Development Council.

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