The Economy of Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Lee’s Summit is a city located in Jackson and Cass counties in the state of Missouri. With a population of over 97,000 as of 2019, it is one of the largest suburbs of Kansas City. Lee’s Summit has a diversified economy, with major industries including manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and technology.

The city has seen steady economic growth over the past decade, with low unemployment rates and a skilled workforce. This article will provide an in-depth look at the key aspects of Lee’s Summit’s economy.

Major Industries and Employers


Manufacturing is a vital part of Lee’s Summit’s economy. Some of the largest manufacturing employers in the city include:

  • Summit Technology: A metal fabrication company that produces engineered products for aerospace, transportation, and industrial customers. Employs over 500 people.
  • ABC Technologies: Manufactures injection-molded plastic parts for automotive, appliance, and consumer industries. Employs around 400 people.
  • Patriot Metal Craft: Makes ammunition cans, boxes, and metal enclosures for military, aerospace, and commercial applications. Employs around 300 workers.

Lee’s Summit is attractive to manufacturers due to its skilled workforce, access to major transportation infrastructure, and proximity to customers. Several industrial parks provide shovel-ready sites for new facilities.


Healthcare is a major source of employment in Lee’s Summit. Major employers include:

  • Saint Luke’s East Hospital: A full-service hospital and Level II trauma center employing over 1,200 people. Part of the Saint Luke’s Health System.
  • Lee’s Summit Medical Center: Another large hospital in the city, with over 600 employees. Owned by Jackson County Public Hospital District No. 2.
  • Select Specialty Healthcare: Operates specialty outpatient centers for orthopedics, breast health, and other specialties. Employs around 400 people in Lee’s Summit.
  • Apogenics Healthcare: Provides home healthcare services to patients throughout the Greater Kansas City area. Headquarters are located in Lee’s Summit.

The city’s central location between Kansas City and rural communities has made it a hub for regional healthcare services. An aging population is also driving demand.


Lee’s Summit has a vibrant retail sector serving residents and drawing shoppers from around the metro area. Major retail centers include:

  • Summit Fair: An open-air lifestyle center with over 1 million square feet of retail, dining, and entertainment. Anchored by major stores like Scheels, Best Buy, and Barnes & Noble.
  • Summit Woods Crossing: A 600,000 square foot outdoor mall anchored by Target, HomeGoods, and other big box stores.
  • Downtown Lee’s Summit: The historic downtown district offers locally-owned boutiques, antique stores, restaurants, and services. Anchored by the historic train depot.

Major national retailers like Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Home Depot also have stores in Lee’s Summit. Sales tax revenue from retail is an important income source supporting city services.


Although not as large as other sectors, Lee’s Summit has an emerging technology industry. Major tech employers include:

  • Garmin: Has an aerospace electronics facility designing avionics, GPS, and other systems. Employs around 300 engineers and technicians.
  • ** Burns & McDonnell: **This engineering firm has a regional office providing IT and app development services. Employs around 250 professionals.
  • ** ASPiRA Association:** Operates data centers and provides managed IT services for clients nationwide. Employs around 200 at Lee’s Summit facilities.

The city is trying to attract more tech companies by developing fiber optic networks, business incubators, and partnerships between local schools and the tech industry.

Economic Development

Economic development in Lee’s Summit is overseen by the City Economic Development Council, a public-private partnership between the city government and local business leaders. Some initiatives to support economic growth include:

  • Downtown development: Projects like streetscape improvements, a farmer’s market, and small business support to revitalize the downtown area.
  • Industrial park investments: Developing the Todd George Parkway and other sites ready for new manufacturing, logistics, and technology firms.
  • Workforce development: Partnerships with local schools, colleges, and businesses to train skilled workers through apprenticeship programs, career academies, and other initiatives.
  • Innovation campus: A planned research and development hub adjacent to the University of Central Missouri satellite campus, aiming to attract tech companies.
  • Business incentives: Tax credits, TIF financing, and other tools to attract new firms and encourage existing business growth and investment.

Labor Force

Lee’s Summit has a sizable, well-educated workforce:

  • Population: Over 97,000 residents, with 61% of adults aged 20-64.
  • Labor force: Around 54,000 Lee’s Summit residents are employed in the civilian labor force.
  • Education: 95% of adults are high school graduates, and over 40% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. This skilled workforce supports technology, healthcare, finance, and professional services.
  • Income: Median household income is over $80,000, higher than national and state medians. Strong wages attract qualified workers.
  • Unemployment: Lee’s Summit’s jobless rate is typically under 3%, lower than county, state, and national levels. Tight labor markets create competition for workers.

Major commuting patterns include Lee’s Summit residents working in Kansas City and people commuting into Lee’s Summit from around the metro. But many residents also live and work within the city.

Real Estate and Growth

Lee’s Summit has seen significant residential and commercial real estate development over the past 20 years, supporting economic growth:

  • Housing: The city issued over 1,000 new housing permits annually from 2010-2019, mostly single-family homes. Median home value is around $235,000.
  • Commercial: 4.5 million square feet of retail, office, and industrial space has been built since 2000, with low commercial vacancy rates.
  • New projects: Major ongoing developments include Summit Park Tech Campus and Summit 150 Office Park, adding over 1 million square feet of space.
  • Infrastructure: Upgrades like highway expansions, new interchanges, and utility extensions enable ongoing construction and growth.
  • Annexation: The city has annexed additional land, expanding potential development. The population grew 30% from 2000 to 2019.

With available land, a growing population, and demand for housing and business space, Lee’s Summit should continue seeing construction and real estate expansion.

Transportation Access

Lee’s Summit’s transportation network supports economic activity:

  • Highways: Interstate 470, US 50, Route 291, and 150 Highway provide regional highway connections.
  • Rail: A major Burlington Northern Santa Fe line runs through the city, connecting to the national rail network.
  • Air: Downtown Municipal Airport offers private aviation access. KCI Airport is a 45-minute drive north.
  • Public transit: RideKC provides bus service in Lee’s Summit and connections to Kansas City.
  • Logistics: The city is within a day’s drive of major Midwest markets. A UPS freight hub is located in Lee’s Summit.

Easy access for commuters, freight traffic, and regional business travel enables Lee’s Summit companies to reach suppliers, workers, and customers efficiently.


Lee’s Summit has strong economic momentum, but the city still faces challenges, including:

  • Workforce: Continuing to develop tech talent and skilled tradespeople to meet employer demand.
  • Infrastructure: Upgrading older roads, utilities, and municipal facilities to support growth.
  • Diversification: Attracting professional and technical services to create a knowledge economy.
  • Competition: Maintaining competitive incentives and permitting vs. other metro cities.
  • Changing retail: Adapting older malls and stores as shopping shifts online.

With sound leadership, strategic planning, and public-private collaboration, Lee’s Summit seems well-positioned for continued prosperity. Quality of life, affordable housing, skilled workers, and transportation access should make the city attractive for new residents, businesses, and investment.


Lee’s Summit has transformed over the past few decades from a small town into a key suburb and economic engine within the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area. The city has balanced major employers in manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and technology with a skilled workforce, modern infrastructure, and land availability.

Ongoing development and population growth are creating new opportunities. The Economic Development Council, city government, and business leaders are actively working to strengthen established industries and attract emerging sectors. Lee’s Summit’s economic diversity and strengths should enable the city to continue thriving in the years ahead.


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  • Option 1: From Downtown Lee’s Summit, MO Head northeast on SE Green St, turning left onto NE Douglas St. Continue until you reach NE Skyline Dr. Turn left, and 20 NE Skyline Dr is on the right.
  • Option 2: From I-470 East Take the Douglas St/Colbern Rd exit from I-470 E. Merge onto NE Colbern Rd, turn right on NE Douglas St, then left on NE Skyline Dr. Find 20 NE Skyline Dr on the right.
  • Option 3: From Unity Village, MO Travel east on NW Colbern Rd, turn right on NW Woods Chapel Rd. Left on NE Douglas St, then left on NE Skyline Dr. 20 NE Skyline Dr will be on your right.