State ranks fifth in nation for income growth

Kansas ranked fifth in the nation for income growth in the third quarter, with the state's farmers leading the way, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The boom in farm commodities in the third quarter has led to a strong rise in farm incomes in the quarter. Six of the top 10 states are in the Great Plains.

Personal income in Kansas rose 1.2 percent in the quarter to $114.7 billion. That is the strongest the state has performed in more than a year. In the past four quarters, total personal income in the state has risen 3.6 percent.

Personal income is the sum of total earnings, income from property, rents and investments, plus government transfers, such as social security.

The farm boom has made up for sluggish growth in most other sectors. While Wichita has suffered from its aircraft manufacturing downturn, much of the state is thriving.

"Commodity prices are going up, and to the extent that commodity prices stay high, the Kansas economy does well," said Donna Ginther, director of the Center for Economic and Business Analysis at the University of Kansas.

Crop prices remain near two-year highs, boosting farm incomes. That has translated into good sales in the state's rural areas.

"Over the last three years, farm equipment sales have been very good, and we're not seeing any drop-off this year," said Mark Sorensen, sales manager for Garden City Farm Equipment, a Case IH dealer.

Of other segments that have had an impact in Kansas, the strongest boost came from durable goods manufacturing.

Oil, gas and coal production also benefited those states that have a large amount. Texas, Oklahoma and Wyoming finished well in income growth. Kansas, with a smaller energy sector relative to its total economy, also benefited.