Adams Dairy Bank, founded nine years ago and thriving at its lone location in Blue Springs, is being sold to Equity Bancshares Inc. of Wichita. The deal, which Equity put at $15.8 million, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018.

The deal gives Equity seven locations in the metro area, including three in Lee’s Summit.

The sale, announced along with the purchase of a banking company is southwest Kansas, is another big step for Equity, which has been buying up banks for several years. The company goes from $3 billion in assets to $3.5 billion. It has 42 locations in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Gas prices up

Local gasoline prices had dipped recently but were still running about a nickel a gallon higher than they were a year ago, and they appear to be rising again.

The average price of gas in the metro -- before Tuesday’s bump -- was $2.13.1, according to kcgasprices.com, which is run by GasBuddy. That’s 30 cents below the national average. The only spots listed as being below $2 were the Independence Costco and at the Sam’s Club site north of the river.

A month ago, the average prices in Kansas City was $2.31.9, and a year ago it was $2.08.4.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported last week that inventories of both crude oil and gasoline are slightly tighter than they were a year ago. Nationwide, according to GasBuddy, the cheapest gas is in the south-central U.S., basically Texas to Alabama. It’s a little higher from Kansas east to Tennessee and higher yet as you go north. Then comes the Northeast, and finally the highest prices are on the West Coast. Most of California is north of $3 a gallon.

Minimum wage

Missouri’s minimum wage rises 15 cents an hour as of next Monday, to $7.85 an hour. Voters tied the minimum wage to inflation several years ago, and this is the fourth bump in five years.

The Economic Policy Institute, which favors federal action to raise the minimum wage, says only 1.6 percent of Missouri’s workforce will directly benefit from the change.

The minimum wage also goes up Jan. 1 in 17 other states, including Minnesota ($9.65), South Dakota ($8.85), Arizona ($10.50), Colorado ($10.20) and California ($11).

Fewer seek work

Missouri’s jobless rate fell to 3.4 percent in November, according to the Missouri Department of Economic Development. That compares with 4.5 percent in November 2016. Last month, 2.94 million Missourians had jobs, and just more than 100,000 were looking for work.

The number of people working last month is 22,000 lower than a year ago, but the labor force has declined by nearly 60,000.

Nationally, the jobless rate in November was 4.1 percent.

As of October, the Kansas City area (both sides of the state line) had an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, an office of the Economic Development Department. That’s down from 4.5 percent at the beginning of the year. The number of residents with jobs has held fairly steady at roughly 1.08 million, but the labor force has declined slightly.

-- Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s business editor and reporter. Reach him at 816-350-6313 or jeff.fox@examiner.net. Follow him on Twitter @FoxEJC.