While Kansas City’s ranking as a business center has never been doubted, new
data confirms the city’s position as one of the nation’s biggest centers of commerce. Based on location alone, Kansas City has always been a crossroads of sorts, a point of meeting for transportation lines, financial institutions, and more recently, computer and telephone systems. About a dozen Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies call Kansas City home, and the city’s historic legacy as an agricultural center is still visible. Businesses as diverse as the Dairy Farmers of America, Hallmark Cards, and Sprint Nextel are based in the city, as are H&R Block and many other giants of industry.
In all, Kansas City hosts almost 51,000 businesses, according to the U.S. Census. Ranking 26 among all metro areas in that category, the numbers are quite misleading, as the census counts single owners with no employees as a business. In addition, small, internet based businesses often operate below the radar, so it is actually impossible to cite a reliable number. Historically, census data has been shown to be quite shoddy, especially in the area of economic statistics. The federal government uses computer models, many outdated, to predict totals for several key categories. In any case, it can be safely said that Kansas City’s business environment is thriving, and likely ranks in the top 25 metro areas for number of businesses.
When it comes to the average number of employees per business, the top ranking is more elusive, as Kansas City’s businesses employ only about 17 persons per entity. Again, the government census data must be questioned because the category was topped by that thriving megalopolis, Tuskegee, Alabama. The point being that the metric, “employees per business,” is rather meaningless, even though the Census Bureau insists on publishing it.
The bottom line is that Kansas City, Missouri is one of the top 25 places to do business in America. And that’s really all that matters.