Somebody forgot to tell us to bounce.
There are new numbers out that show while the economies of many cities across the country were experiencing a bounce-back year in 2010, Lawrence’s did not.
In fact by one measure, Lawrence’s overall economy grew by one of the slowest rates in the entire country in 2010, according to new numbers from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Here’s what we’re talking about: The Bureau of Economic Analysis each year measures the Gross Domestic Product of every metro area in the country. That’s just a fancy way of saying they measure the market value of all the goods and services produced in a metro area.
In 2010, Lawrence’s GDP grew by 0.1 percent. That ranked Lawrence 300th out of 366 metro areas in the country.
What does it all mean? Well, it depends. There are certainly other measures of an economy, like the unemployment rate and per capita income, that probably affect residents more on a daily basis. But government number-crunchers do tout GDP as the broadest measure of an economy. So, if nothing else, the numbers provide a big, wide snapshot of Lawrence’s economy. Here’s a look:
• We were slow in 2010. Lawrence’s GDP grew by 0.1 percent for the year. The average growth rate for metro areas in 2010 was 2.5 percent.
• We’re still small. Lawrence had a GDP of $3.75 billion in 2010. That ranked us 326 out of 366 metro areas. Here’s how we compared with some other metro areas nearby: Topeka, $9.3 billion (189th); Wichita, $26.2 billion (84th); Kansas City, $105.9 billion (26th); Manhattan, $5.9 billion (240th).
• 2010 was rough in several areas. Of the 13 sectors of the Lawrence economy that were measured, eight of them showed declines for the year. They were natural resources and mining; nondurable goods manufacturing, transportation and utilities; financial activities; professional and business services; education and health services; leisure services; and the category of other services.
•Three areas bucked the trend in 2010. Trade, as in wholesale and retail trade, was the top growth area for the economy. The information sector and the government sector also grew some. Surprisingly, the numbers show construction, which includes activities other than just home construction, held about steady.
• We’re still a government town. All that work that gets done up at Kansas University gets put in the government category, so no surprise that it leads the way in Lawrence. Here are largest parts of the Lawrence economy, by percentage:
Federal, state and local government: 25.5 percent
Real estate and leasing: 15.5 percent
Manufacturing: 9.6 percent
Retail trade: 7.9 percent
Professional, scientific and technical services: 6.2 percent
Information services: 5.7 percent
Health care and social assistance: 5.1 percent
Other services: 3.9 percent
Finance and insurance: 3.7 percent
Accommodation and food services: 3.5 percent
• We were slower than our neighbors in 2010. Here’s how our growth rate stacks up against some area cities and others that have Big 12 ties (which is getting tougher to determine, by the way).
Austin, Texas: 7 percent
Manhattan: 5.3 percent
Waco, Texas: 4.2 percent
Boulder, Colo: 4 percent
Columbia, Mo.: 3.4 percent
Fort Collins, Colo.: 2.9 percent
Lubbock, Texas: 2.2 percent
College Station, Texas: 2.2 percent
Joplin, Mo.: 2 percent
Oklahoma City: 1.7 percent
Kansas City (Mo. and Kan.): 1.5 percent
Topeka: 1.4 percent
St. Joseph, Mo.: 1.2 percent
Lincoln, Neb.: 1.2 percent
Ames, Iowa: 0.4 percent
Omaha, Neb.: 0.4 percent
Springfield, Mo.: 0.4 percent
Lawrence: 0.1 percent
Wichita: Negative 0.4 percent
Tulsa, Okla.: Negative 0.6 percent
• The longer you look, the better we look. This point is probably important. GDP numbers can fluctuate a lot in one year. It is just the nature of the economy. When you look at Lawrence’s GDP growth rate over three years, it fares quite a bit better. It has grown, on average, 1 percent per year over the last three years. That’s far better than the national average, which was negative 0.1 for the three year period. It also is better than the three-year growth rate for most of the regional cities. Lawrence’s three-year growth rate ranks ninth out of the 20 regional cities above. Only Austin, Columbia, College Station, Iowa City, Manhattan, Lubbock, Oklahoma City and Waco had higher growth rates than Lawrence.