Monday, September 01, 2014

BROWNBACK: Economy building toward ‘Midwest Renaissance’

By SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas Governor | 6/2/2014

We continue to see signs of an improving economy in Kansas. Signs that translate to jobs for Kansans and opportunities for Kansas businesses.

The April seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.8 percent. This marks the fifth consecutive month in which Kansas has seen unemployment below 5 percent, which has not happened since fall 2008.

We continue to see signs of an improving economy in Kansas. Signs that translate to jobs for Kansans and opportunities for Kansas businesses.

The April seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.8 percent. This marks the fifth consecutive month in which Kansas has seen unemployment below 5 percent, which has not happened since fall 2008.

We also have more Kansans working than ever before: 1,494,118 of them to be precise.

The Kansas labor market — which is the number of people working — is increasing. Our unemployment rate is dropping as more people find work, whereas at the national level the unemployment rate is dropping as people leave the labor pool and stop looking for work.

We are seeing positive signs in other indicators as well. Since 2010, we have outperformed most of our neighboring states in terms of growing private sector wages, private sector employment, personal income and population.

Our economic growth continues even as one of our most important industries, manufacturing small jets, remains challenged. Wichita truly is the aviation center of the world and we continue to advocate for this important industry and the jobs it supports for Kansans.

One of the reasons for our continued economic strength can be found in the hard work and innovation of many of our Kansas businesses, both large and small and the exporting of Kansas goods both domestic and international.

At the most recent Council of Economic Advisors meeting, Dr. Troy Davig, with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, said 8.3 percent of all U.S. jobs are supported through exports. Kansas outperforms neighboring states in exporting, in large part because of our diverse base of industries that export.

In 2013, Kansas exports total $12.45 billion, an increase of 25 percent since 2010. In our five-state region — which includes Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma — the average export value in 2013 was $9.67 billion.

At that meeting, Chad Lane, with Excel Industries — the 2013 Governor’s Exporter of the Year — said the Kansas workforce, energy supply and entrepreneurial culture are part of what gives our state an advantage in exporting.

Kansas workers, Kansas jobs, Kansas work ethic.

It’s little wonder that Kansas is leading a Midwest Renaissance.

Sam Brownback is Kansas governor.

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