Kansas’ GDP growth behind most states in the region

06/11/2014 7:39 PM

06/11/2014 7:39 PM

Kansas’ gross domestic product grew 1.9 percent in 2013, lagging most states in the middle of the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Overall, however, Kansas placed 23rd among all states in a ranking of annual growth in gross domestic product, outpacing the country as a whole, which grew at 1.8 percent.

Gross domestic product is a total of all goods and services produced in the state and is the most common measure of overall economic growth.

Southwestern, Great Plains and Rocky Mountain states saw strong growth in oil and gas drilling, shipping and refining as well as solid returns in farming and agricultural processing, which made them the nation’s fastest-growing states.

But in Kansas, not as much.

“Lots of things aren’t working; this is low economic activity,” said Donna Ginther, director of the Center for Economic and Business Analysis at the University of Kansas.

The continuing drag of Wichita’s depressed general aviation manufacturing sector and declines in the state’s large natural gas production sector had a sizable impact, she said. Plus, Kansas consumers aren’t spending much, and cuts in government spending, showing up in both direct government outlays and through other sectors such as in health care, slowed growth in the economy.

“Overall, the consumption engine of the economy was stuck in neutral or going backward, and cuts to social assistance were also a drag,” Ginther said.

The sector that made the biggest contribution to the state was nondurable-goods manufacturing.

That likely means the state’s oil and chemical refineries and food-processing plants were doing good business, said Jeremy Hill, director of the Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita State University.

The other big sector was agriculture. The state had a decent harvest in all crops last year, despite an off-and-on, here-and-there drought. Grain prices were relatively high last year, providing farmers with strong income. And the cattle industry, afflicted by drought, continued to sell cattle for high prices.

Kansas did see faster economic growth last year than in 2012, when the state grew just 0.4 percent, according to newly revised figures. It grew 3.8 percent in 2011 and 3.1 percent in 2010.

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