Topeka It was one of those glass half-full, glass half-empty discussions.
An economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City told Kansas legislators Monday that the state’s economy was slowly recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression.
But several legislators on the House-Senate Committee on Economic Development and the president of a state economic agency were more pessimistic.
“The business confidence is at a real low,” said Sen. Julia Lynn, R-Olathe. “Their confidence in policies that are occurring now is not high,” she said.
Stan Ahlerich, president of Kansas Inc., said, “Businesses are sitting on their hands, waiting.”
But Alison Felix, economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, said, “I'm not quite as pessimistic as others today.”
Felix conceded business and consumer confidence in the economy is low, but it is higher than a year ago, she said.
She said that a slower recovery was expected from this recession than previous ones because of problems in the housing market.
She said several sectors of the Kansas economy are doing well, including agriculture and energy.
“What you need is time,” she said. There is less belief now that the country will experience a “double-dip recession,” she said. “Every recovery is a little bumpy,” she said.
The 10th Federal Reserve Bank district based in Kansas City, Mo., covers all of Kansas and all or parts of six other sates
U.S. gross domestic product increased 1.6 percent in the second quarter of this year, and is expected to grow from 2.9 percent in 2009 to 3.8 percent for this entire year, Felix said.
Since February, most job sectors in Kansas have grown, including a whopping 58 percent increase in construction jobs between February and May. This was due to two major projects -- the Keystone oil pipeline project that came through Kansas and construction of a military hospital at Fort Riley.
Healthy oil and agriculture prices are also helping the Kansas economy rebound, she said.