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 area’s $142.5 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 five major employers.

Note: When we say Kansas City metro area, 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 area’s economy, based on data from the Kansas City Area Development Council. We’ve listed them in order of employment numbers.

Bioscience | 129,197 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 | 102,743 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 3,918 tech companies in the metro, ranging from startups to global enterprises.

Financial Services | 79,400 employees
The diverse and well-balanced economy, network infrastructure, and skilled workforce of KC makes it attractive to the financial services industry.

Distribution | 63,983 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.

Food and Beverage | 25,500+ employees
670+ 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 six major employersall that employ more than 50,000 workers in the region combined.

Food and Drug Administration
46,189 employees | Bioscience industry | Search jobs
The Kansas City Labatory — located in Lenexa, KS — is responsible for testing for toxic elements, pesticides, and mycotoxins in food, feed, and dietary supplements.

4,674 employees | Technology industry | 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
1,878 employees | Financial services industry | 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.
7,260 employees | Distribution industry | 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
1,297 employees | Food and beverage industry | Search jobs
The company is the world’s second-largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork.

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

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