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Does Lawrence have top job market?


¢ Lawrence has one of the fastest-growing job markets in the United States, according to a Chicago placement firm cited in the [Houston Chronicle][1]. Other cities on the list include New Orleans, Jackson, N.C., and Dubuque, Iowa. [1]: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/4805795.html


Jamesaust 10 years, 10 months ago

I can only note that several of the cities listed are college towns (Iowa City, Boulder, SLC, Boise, Austin). So, I wonder if the "study" is merely keeping track of job offers accepted by location - the college town - and then imputing the job to the same location (but the job is in fact located elsewhere).

Obviously, the idea that Lawrence has a mark-setting job growth rate is too absurd to comment upon.

javery 10 years, 10 months ago

Or the other possibility is that they are looking at the number of available jobs proportional to the size of the population. This would also show college towns as booming, since once a year several thousand jobs open up (they may be fairly menial, but they are there, freshly vacated by college students, with expectations that some new college student will step in).

camper 10 years, 10 months ago

Good comment scenebooster. A little sarcasm is necessary here. I may add that there were a few companies interested in Lawrence that offered jobs in the in the $10-$15 hr range. Not great, but maybe enough for dual income families to get by. City leaders snubbed these companies because they did not think these wages were quite high enough, and they did not like the proposed tax abatenments.

We should not worry though. We can continue to work for $5.15 an hour because our city commision is holding out for only the good compaines. One day we will all be making big bucks.

Kat Christian 10 years, 10 months ago

Even at $10.00 an hour isn't working to surivial with having one dependent with the cost of rents, utils on the rises and not to mention the almighty petro we put in our cars hiking up to the sky. Where are the jobs? Remember these jobs are only for the young, college age and dumb and desperate enough to take them. If you want to up your status in life while working full-time better go somewhere else. Lawrence doesn't offer REAL jobs - just jobs to just get by on, if you're lucky enough to get them. Very cliquish here so you have to look the part first, then maybe they might even consider experience if it doesn't freak them out and you can convince employers money is NOT what you are looking for. I wonder who paid this Chicago firm to publish these lies?

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 10 months ago

Getting the impression that the people responding here can't find good jobs or jobs at all here in Lawrence?

Is there any data that anyone has that says Lawrence is a bad place to look for a job?

Frankly, it doesn't surprise me that the study showed Lawrence to be a good place to find a job.

rockchalk77 10 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, the job market is so fantastic that I drive 80 miles round trip daily. I assume they are counting service and food industry jobs, because there certainly aren't any decent jobs for someone with a M.S. in Engineering.

ksmom 10 years, 10 months ago

I don't know where or when they got their information, but If you aren't a Dr., Lawyer, Judge, Engineer, KU Dean, or some other upper echelon, you can't find a decent paying job in this city. It's pretty sad when you have to drive 100 plus miles a day to get an average paying job. Then, the gas prices eat up any surplus wages. Hence, we are packing up and leaving this town in July! I've had enough of trying to support myself and two children on $9.00 an hour. Good bye Lawrence! (before you all start with the slams, I am a widow and both of my children were born during my marriage. I'm not a low-life living off welfare. I work two jobs and still can't afford the things my kids need, let a lone what they want.)

Unix_Admin 10 years, 10 months ago

You know, one of the worst of the bunch as far as their hourly rate goes is our beloved Sunflower Cable and LJW. They only offer their perspective employees $8.00hr to start! I know with the monopoly they have in this town, they must just be racking in the money and be capable of paying people a living wage! Oh, but you get a discount on cable!

kmat 10 years, 10 months ago

stuckinthemiddle - i have two degrees and over 12 years experience in purchasing and international trade. Find me a good job in Lawrence. If you could, I'd pay you a commission. Once in a blue moon a purchasing type job will show up in Lawrence and it has always paid at least 30-40% than the same job in KC. I would love to stop spending 1.5 hours a day driving and would take a small pay cut to do it, but our wonderful city has made a point of not attracting good companies to the area. The business park I work in is adding buildings and companies non-stop. I'm sure some of these companies would have set up in Lawrence if the city tried to bring them in. They don't.

To give you an idea of how bad it is here, my nephew in KC makes more than the average Lawrence citizen and he works for Panera. Pretty sad when a 24 year old assistant manager at Panera makes better money than a degreed business professional does in Lawrence.

You must work for the university.

Confrontation 10 years, 10 months ago

ksmom: I completely envy the fact that you are getting out of this town so soon! With any luck, I will be getting out of here within six months. I can't wait! It's not always easy to move when there are two jobs that need to be replaced (and you don't work in the fast-food industry). This town, and most people in it, think far too highly of themselves, considering the few benefits you get from living here. Other than the University and the Jayhawk men's basketball team, there's nothing here. I suppose it's fine for those who want to live at the bars on Mass, examine crappy art, or let their dogs crap all over the place. For the rest of us, it's time to go. For those who say good riddance, thanks! I sure won't miss you, either :)

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 10 months ago

kmat, your nephew makes more than what degreed professionals in Lawrence?

And so you have two degrees, does that entitle you to a certain job in a certain location? I'm not saying that Lawrence has everything for everyone as far as jobs go but your comparing what is available to you in KC as opposed to Lawrence is silly. How much bigger is KC? How many more opportunities are their going to be?

Would it make sense for me to say: "Hey, try getting a good professional job in Eudora." I don't think so.

Bradley Kemp 10 years, 10 months ago

I live in Lawrence and make plenty of money. I have a friend who does, too. And a relative who lives somewhere else who doesn't make much money. Therefore, Lawrence must have a lucrative job market.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 10 months ago

Too funny. Lawrence is setting records in the US job market? Did the pollsters call during the day and talk mainly to deaf, half-senile retirees to query them about their 'jobs'? Were the POLLSTERS themselves deaf, half-senile retirees? This, like most polls, has to be fraught with all sorts of data-gathering, interpretive and empirical problems. I'd say baloney to Lawrence being in the top 1000 cities. Well, that is unless Boog Highbarger can lure the bio-science industry to our hallowed prairies. Double baloney on that.

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm guessing that for it's size, Lawrence has more decent paying jobs in the professional and techincal fields than other cities of similar size.

Now, those jobs might not pay quite as high as in KC or other big cities but that's simply supply and demand. A lot of people want to work in Lawrence. And, people want to live in Lawrence. So, wages can be lower while rent/real estate is higher.

thecuteone 10 years, 10 months ago

I love Lawrence and would love to stay here forever, but I agree that it's very difficult to find a job. I have a degree with honors, but can't find any work that doesn't require a master's degree or great burger flipping skills. One only needs to take a look on www.careerbuilder.com to see that only a few jobs open up each day in Lawrence and most of those are either with the University or on the production line.

Bradley Kemp 10 years, 10 months ago


Yes. Three. I was trying to point out the flawed reasoning of others who've cited similarly sized samples -- albeit to make the opposite point.

timebomb66 10 years, 10 months ago

Stop the mass exodus! The new Wal Mart on the west side is going to have us all sh!tting in tall cotton! Im polishing on the ol resume tonight. I cant believe everyone overlooked this!

Sigmund 10 years, 10 months ago

LJW, like every other business in town, takes advantage of the only real resource available in Lawrence; an abundance of high school grads who did well enough to get admitted to KU and who need part time jobs with flexible hours.

There are only two ways for wages to rise in Lawrence. Declining enrollments at KU reduces supply of cheap labor; or increase the number of employers willing to take on low-skill, part-time employees. By either reducing the labor supply or increasing the number of jobs, price pressures will force wages to increase.

By the way how many apartment complexes, lawn services, fast food joints, and construction companies in Lawrence use cheap illegal immigrant labor? That also helps keep Lawrence's wages low.

thecuteone 10 years, 10 months ago


Yes, well I'm not an engineer, teacher, or janitor. There are very few jobs that require a college degree, but aren't as specialized as engineering, architecture, the medical field, etc.

thecuteone 10 years, 10 months ago

Plus, I should add that I applied for a job and thought it was promising after my second interview. Untimately, I lost the job to a college student my brother knows who would work for less and didn't need the benefits. Seems I'm either not qualified at all or too qualified.

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 10 months ago

thecuteone, I don't know what kind of job you want so I can't speculate on your chances of getting the job you want in Lawrence, but there is quite a variety of jobs on that page. And, I didn't see "janitor" but I did see janitorial manager, which might be a good job for a business school graduate.

thecuteone 10 years, 10 months ago

Also not a business school graduate. Sure it seems that there are plenty of jobs that the average college grad could get, but as I've said, many companies would rather hire students who will work for less and don't need the benefits. Trust me, I've applied for every single job for which I'm even remotely quatlified.

lakings1 10 years, 10 months ago

I haven't had full time work in over seven months. I also have two bachelor's degrees. I've had around 20 interviews in that time. The majority of employers are definitely looking for easily replaceable college students.

The looks on some interviewers' faces when I asked about advancement opportunities were classic.

The best paying job I've interviewed for would have paid me 30 percent less than my last position. I'm not hurting for cash right now, so when I'm faced with low-pay or garbage benefits I just conclude the interview as politely as possible and walk. I've done a lot of walking.

Per hour, I made more money temping in Lawrence immediately following my graduation than I would have made at any of the other jobs for which I interviewed.

I'm leaving town as soon as I find a place to live.

randerson7000 10 years, 10 months ago

Well I moved away from Lawrence/KC to get a better job in science and have to say that Washington is much better. Unless you are in a professional school or have an associates degree in a truly needed position you are another sucker with a undergrad degree. The only thing to do I found was keep plugging away at whatever was the best job I could find and keep filling out applications along with looking for concrete skills that I needed. In hindsight it would have been better to go directly to places I wanted to get a job and ask them just what the hell it was going to take to work there as kindly as possible. The trade off here is insanely high housing and rent. For those with a lot of patience a federal job is pretty good if you can deal with filling out every last detail on the application.

white_mountain 10 years, 10 months ago

I don't know 'bout anyone else, but I'm getting awful tired of all these commuters coming in from KC and Topeka to take advantage of Lawrence's wonderful job market.

DaveR 10 years, 10 months ago

I got myself a pair of KU's Bachelors back in the 1970's. Could find no work no matter what, so in 1979, left Lawrence, "never to return".

In nearly three decades I didn't think anything had changed in Lawrence so far as jobs went. There used to be a fertilizer plant on the east side of town, but that's gone. It was unionized, if memory serves. There used to be a magazine printer (Kansas Color Press) & at least the pressmen were unionized. Bindery flunkies like me were not.

But time passes. I now run a mom & pop mail order biz. Don't make enough to live in New York, don't make enough to live on the beach in California. Don't know or don't care about most of the rest of the country, but Lawrence, if you don't have to work for a living, is not bad overall.

Lawrence may, if it is not careful, become a mecca for the idle rich. That seems to be the fate of Santa Fe, by the way. It is not to be desired.

DaveR 10 years, 10 months ago

This thread seems to have died, but I will post these remarks as they might be useful.

It seems these remarks are too long, so I will divide. Part 1:

There aren't enough employers in the world to soak up KU's excess students. So if employment doesn't work, think of self-employment.

Okay, a town full of taxi drivers trying to give each other rides won't work either.

Internet-based mom & pop mail order shops, like mine, would be a viable solution. There are an infinite number of things that can be sold by mail order. Some require actual inventory, but some do not (drop ships & services). Amazon can't serve it all, and, besides, has never been that well-run. Not only is mail order a national market (by definition), but a savvy operator can pick up a considerable international trade. My business has traditionally been about 30% international.

Mail order, by definition, brings money into the community. I intend to move the family & biz to Lawrence next year. Because I bring money with me, I will be a net asset to the town. Admittedly, I'm not a very big asset, but few other citizens can claim to make the city richer.

But there's something else that's intrigued me. I sell specialized books by mail order, and, as it happens, a lot of the books I wanted to present to my customers were out of print. A lot of them were in public domain. What to do? Publishing is - or used to be - expensive.

But not any more. Scanners & desktop publishing programs, combined wth Print-on-Demand technology, can put a book into print for as little as $150. (Offset is in excess of $3000 per title.) You then buy only the copies you actually need, which is to say, lots of 10 or so. For Amazon, you drop ship. You've got to find the right POD printer to pull this off (I'm not going to shill for the one I use, and a lot of the others are thinly disguised vanity houses), but if you buy yourself 100 ISBNS (about $800) & get yourself 30-40 well-chosen titles in print, then in a couple of years you can pay your monthly mortgage. Another plus: The books are physically Made In America, by well-paid Americans.

DaveR 10 years, 10 months ago

Here is Part 2:

I mention this particular dodge as Lawrence is an ideal place for it. Overall education levels are fairly high. There are a number of outstanding libraries close by. (Borrow the book, scan it & you're done.) ALL books published prior to 1915 are generally regarded as public domain, so with them there's no copyright to worry about. (Books from then to now have to be considered individually, but on the other hand, royalties to authors are just another cost of doing business.)

Lawrence scores in another sense, in that successful students often, over the next decade or two, find members of their extended families have moved into the Lawrence area. This is true of my own family, which had no connection to NE Kansas before I made the journey to Lawrence in the 1970's. This kind of small-press publishing is ideal for that sort of extended family.

With not much effort, Lawrence could become the small press capital of America. As a small press mecca, Lawrence would have an effective tool to fight poor employment, it would profit from the money brought into the community (all big box stores, by definition, extract money from the town), it would nicely compliment the University, it would be a cultural feather in its cap.

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