The Kansas City metro's economy has weathered the recent recession and is recovering. Local GMP is positioned to increase 2.0 percent this year and 4.2 percent next year. Retail sales in the region were estimated at 2.6 percent in 2013 and are expected to expand 4.8 percent in 2014.
Kansas City's central geographic location makes it a natural transportation and distribution hub. The metro is the second-largest rail mecca in the nation. The increased flow of goods from Mexico will drive intermodal growth in the region. The BNSF KC Intermodal facility in Edgerton will open this year with rail-to-truck loading capabilities. Land is also available for 7 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space on the site.
The metro's location also makes it an ideal spot for corporate headquarters. Physical proximity is not all the metro offers, as lower costs of living and doing business, in addition to an educated work force also attract corporations and, subsequently, job seekers. Locally housed companies Sprint Nextel, YRC Worldwide and Seaboard are on the Fortune 500 list. Other expanding industries in the metro include finance and insurance, engineering, life sciences, manufacturing, and information technology. Being the first area in the nation to receive Google Fiber high speed internet access should attract tech companies and start-ups to Kansas City.
The region sits close to both the geographic and population centers of the United States and serves as a major commercial, industrial and cultural hub. The cities of Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., are located just south of the Missouri and Kansas rivers junction at the Missouri/Kansas state line.
The Kansas City metro consists of Clay, Bates, Cass, Platte, Clinton, Caldwell, Jackson, Lafayette and Ray counties in Missouri and Johnson, Leavenworth, Linn, Franklin, Miami and Wyandotte counties in Kansas. The metro has nearly 2.1 million residents, and is growing at an annual rate of 0.7 percent. Kansas City, Mo., is the largest city followed by Overland Park, Kan.