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Clay County, Missouri

Total Employment

This is an annual count of all jobs located in the county (as opposed to jobs held by county residents).

After hovering between 85,000 and 90,000 jobs for years, Clay County employment has surged in recent years. In 2016, Clay County employment topped 100,00.

Employment by Industry

With over 14,000 jobs, Manufacturing is Clay County’s top employing industry, followed by Health Care and Retail.

Employment Change by Industry

Aside from being the largest employer, Manufacturing is also the fastest growing sector adding 4,252 jobs in Clay County between 2011 and 2016. Anchored by the Ford plant in Claycomo, Clay County manufacturing has strengthened even as manufacturing is struggling to add jobs nationally.

Clay County also saw good growth in the broad Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry. This industry includes legal, architecture-engineering, and computer system design.

Average Wages

Average wages in Clay County are generally lower than national averages. The overall average annual wage (for the private sector) is $47,020 in Clay County and $53,503 nationally.


Manufacturing is one exception. Median manufacturing wages in Clay County are $66,320, just above the national median of $64,860.


Health Care is another exception, although the difference is slight ($48,213 to $47,955).

Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate for Clay County in April sits at 3.1 percent. This is the lowest it has been in the last 10 years.

Clay County’s unemployment rate typically runs a bit lower than the Kansas City metro’s.

New Business Employment

In today’s economy, much attention is placed on an economy’s ability to start and grow new businesses. One way to measure this is to look at employment in young firms.


New businesses, those less than 4 years old, are making up a smaller share of Clay County’s total employment.


This decline is not unique to the Kansas City area and Clay County. San Jose, Ca, considered the hotbed of entrepreneurship, has also seen declining employment in young companies.

Despite the overall declines, this measure remains an important one. A community that is able to create a culture where entrepreneurship can thrive will have an advantage over its competition.

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