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Lawrence ranked second-worst-performing small metro area, according to new national economic index


Call it a rankings rut, and this one is pretty deep for the city of Lawrence.

A new national study has ranked Lawrence as the second-worst-performing small metropolitan area in the nation, based on a variety of economic measures. The Milken Institute ranked Lawrence 178 out of 179 metro areas in its most recent Best Performing Cities index. A web site for The Atlantic this week had an article analyzing the results.

This latest report adds onto the negative news released earlier this month by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis about Lawrence’s gross domestic product. It ranked 339th out of 366 metro areas, and was shrinking.

The Milken report uses some of the same types of economic numbers to create its index. But it places a particular emphasis on an area in which Lawrence is supposed to be positioned to excel: high-tech, knowledge-based jobs.

Simply put, the report found we aren’t excelling in that area. In fact, Lawrence didn’t excel in any area.

Over the course of the past year, Lawrence’s ranking in the report fell 79 spots, from No. 99 in the 2011 report to No. 178 in the most recent index. Only three other cities — Ithaca, N.Y., Great Falls, Mont., and Hot Springs, Ark. — had sharper declines than Lawrence’s.

The report takes a look at nine different categories, and Lawrence didn’t crack the top 100 in any of them. Here’s a look:

• Five-year job growth: No. 107

• One-year job growth: No. 172

• Five-year wage growth: No. 101

• One-year wage growth: No. 158

• One-year job growth percentage: No. 156

• Five-year high-tech GDP growth: No. 170

• One-year high-tech GDP growth: No. 151

• High-tech GDP as part of overall GDP: No. 164

• Concentration of high-tech companies: No. 148

I know how you all like comparisons, so I have gathered the rankings for several regional communities. I would ask for a drumroll, but the drama already has been sucked from this. Since Lawrence is second to last — last place was Carson City, Nev. — I’m guessing you’ve already deduced that every city in the region ranked ahead of us.

On a positive note, Manhattan, which has been on a roll in these type of rankings, wasn’t included in this index, likely because its population wasn’t quite large enough to qualify. But fear not, here is something for you to gnash your teeth over: Columbia, Mo., ranked No. 10 on the small cities list. Here’s a look at others:

• Iowa City, Iowa: No. 16

• St. Joseph, Mo.: No. 29

• Waco, Texas: No. 31

• Joplin, Mo.: No. 44

• Ames, Iowa: No. 61

• Topeka: No. 144

Several of the cities Lawrence often compares itself to, or at least watches, were included in the list of 200 large cities. Here’s how some of those cities fared in the rankings:

• Fort Collins, Colo.: No. 12

• Boulder, Colo.: No. 15

• Lubbock, Texas: No. 20

• Oklahoma City: No. 32

• Madison, Wis.: No. 71

• Lincoln, Neb.: No. 81

• Kansas City: No. 104

• Tulsa, Okla.: No. 118

• Springfield, Mo.: No. 144

• Wichita: No. 146

Take these rankings for whatever you think they’re worth. These indexes all have their own biases about what they think are the most important economic indicators. This one seems to be heavily focused on wages and high-tech business indicators. For what it is worth, those are two areas I hear local leaders emphasize a lot as well.

Another factor to remember is that this index — like all of them — is based on data that sometimes has some age to it. Most of the job growth numbers date back to 2011, and some of the wage numbers date back to 2010. It was no secret that Lawrence struggled during those periods. It also is worth remembering that Lawrence basically has entirely revamped its economic development team since that point.

Plus, some recent indicators have been more positive. Retail sales tax collections in 2012 had their best growth since the mid-1990s, there’s been a significant decline in Massachusetts Street vacancies, Hallmark Cards is in the process of shifting about 200 workers to its Lawrence plant, and even home sales and building permits have showed signs of a rebound.

Yes, I’m trying to put a little cheer in your Kool-Aid. But only for a moment. I’ll leave you with a finding from the report that ought to leave Lawrence leaders scratching their heads. The authors of the report noted that there were two types of communities most likely to do well in this year’s index: communities benefiting from the country’s new natural gas and oil exploration; and communities with “high concentrations of public-sector employees, especially in prominent universities.”

That second one sure sounds like us. But maybe our definition of prominent is a bit different from others. The top ranked small city, for the second year in a row, was Logan, Utah, home to Utah State University. Prominent? I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure our basketball team can beat theirs.


George Lippencott 11 months, 3 weeks ago

JAFS and Choot


When a business - any business - makes a decision to invest a lot of stock holders money in a new store they do a lot of homework. That homework defines their boundaries as to what "help" they will accept.

The reality that Home Depot, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Lowes and any other business are at the beck and call of a portion of the people in Lawrence is ludicrous. The issue in my note and in a number of other notes is that these large entities and many smaller ones will not come here on our terms. You want them you need to compromise - as we have done at times - or essentially lose legal actions as IMHO we have.

The charge is making it hard. Restrictions make it hard. We have many restrictions. Too hard and they go elsewhere.

I just do not understand the arrogance that perceives that we get to edict to business and they will bow to our terms. They expect to make a good return on their investment. If our terms do not include that than they will not play.

Of course we have a right to protect our community from the impact of un-controlled growth. I am not sure we legally have a right to pick winners and losers. The choice is of course ours but to try to conceal our persistent attempts to control what companies do is disingenuous.

The report simply suggests that there is a consequence of trying to use government to manage “growth" through regulation and codes..


Satirical 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Lawrence may be economically sinking, but as this article points out, at least they are re-arranging the deck chairs!


George Lippencott 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Reading through the comments it is not surprising that Lawrence may not be “all that it could be”. There are so many conflicting visions above that only a knave, a fool or a very dedicated person would hold public office and absorb the abuse from the conflicting and uncompromising “mob”. All “twenty” of the voters in our last municipal election are really the only ones with a right to whine

Of course, there are a lot of people just not represented here. They work, have a responsible income, are busy raising their kids and in general ignore the jostling hoard. They are mobile and if it gets too bad here they will just leave. Otherwise the very jostling adds character to what could otherwise be another Kansas Farm Town.

Is it surprising that K-10 is so busy? Not allowing outside construction here does not lead to a local business opportunity but to more trips to a place offering a wide selection of activities for all ages, interests and incomes. A diverse population seeks a diverse environment not one dominated by sports bars and quaint but expensive “artsy” shops.

You know, some people really do like the choices in large “box” stores and are not inspired by large athletic venues at the expense of properly maintained infrastructure and large and almost unparalleled local tax rates.


Richard Heckler 11 months, 3 weeks ago

City Hall and City Commissioners should have known this long before it was published.,

Why aren't the powers that be maintaining ongoing stats regarding what development is or is not paying back with a high degree of accuracy?

Development has been in the hands of the Chamber/real estate/development industry for 3 going on 4 decades. It's that simple. Lawrence has been shelling out a lot of tax dollars to their economic growth advisor aka Chamber of Commerce.

If the vocal minority had their way Lawrence,kansas would have been maintaining accurate records as they have been repeatedly requested to do for at least the past 15 years. Falls on deaf ears. Yes there are tools available to measure the market payback which would provide reason to change direction rather than continuing down the path of economic displacement and/or economic destruction. City Commissions consistently say NO to maintaining pay back history.

If the vocal minority had its' way an experienced economy growth team would be in city hall whereby a bit more transparency would be available. City Commissions consistently say NO!

The library rehab and public school rehab did not put Lawrence in last place. I'd say this likely is the critter === Development has been in the hands of the Chamber/ real estate/development industry for 3 going on 4 decades.

Lawrence has never had a City Commission that knows how to pace the growth of supply....


professor 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I saw this coming over the past 5 years, deteriorating services and infrastructure, ever increasing taxes, and decreasing development. Although these surveys can be inconclusive, this should be sounding alarms back in Larryville. It is too nice of a town to let it slide into becoming another Wyandotte County!


KSVolunteer 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Speaking as a business owner that moved her business to Olathe this past year, Lawrence is probably LAST now. The people in Lawrence are fun to be around but ambition is lacking. Pride in a lack of development, a city that is not business friendly and a punishing property tax on commercial businesses is driving jobs and businesses away. Just this year, the Johnson Co. chamber has welcomed 6 businesses that were in Lawrence last year. The library project and the continuing of the Bond Issues borders on the ridiculous when 'support' comes from voter turnout of less than 20% of the residents. A minority of people are driving an unhealthy agenda.


bballwizard 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Hello. If you are not from kansas why would you come here?????? There's nothing here but bad weather and flat landscape


nomansland 11 months, 3 weeks ago

As a former resident of Lawrence, it's sad to see stats like this, but I guess it comes as no surprise, considering the inept City Government/Chamber of Commerce that exists. All that sprawl for nothing. Living there in the 90's was a great time, and I left right as the city became economically stagnant. Now it's way overbuilt with too much retail and strip malls out in the newer west parts of town, and downtown is suffering. Last time I visited, I was appalled at the number of vacancies on Mass and can't remember seeing that many before. But like others have mentioned, I think Lawrence is more a reflection of what's happening all around KS, and Brownback's policies reflect that. Many of my friends are moving from Lawrence to neighboring states and I expect this trend to continue.


nomansland 11 months, 3 weeks ago

As a former resident of Lawrence, it's sad to see stats like this but I guess it comes as no surprise considering the inept City Government/Chamber of Commerce that exists. All that sprawl for nothing. Living there in the 90's was a great boom time and I left right as the city became economically stagnant. Now it's way overbuilt with too much retail and strip malls out in the newer west parts of town and downtown is suffering.


April Fleming 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Look at all of these economic experts! I bet almost none of which have been to one City Council meeting in his or her life.

This is complicated stuff. For all this kvetching I would think maybe not re-electing the same folks year after year would be one place to start.

Lawrence is a much larger place than it was when I moved here in 2000, with greater amenities than when I moved here. It is very true that there are not enough jobs to keep people from moving... but when you have an influx of 5,000 students every year, many of whom would like to stay after graduation, it's kind of a losing equation.


Richard Heckler 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Lawrence is living economic displacement NOT economic growth.....

We can only look forward to vacancies and disinvestment. We need a City Commission that knows how to pace the growth of supply....

If the past 30 years of Chamber/Developer mismanagement was paying back Lawrence,Kansas would not be at the bottom.

There are tools to discover what investment is paying back however city government has chose to ignore such an opportunity over the years. Therefore it is assumed the powers that be don't want to find out the truth.


stranger_na_strangeland 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Put a canopy over Mass street and turn it into a Fremont Street experience like in Vegas. It would attract a very diverse crowd. Book 70's and 80's one hit wonder bands and watch the retirement folks come in.


bbohning 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I am a relatively young (28) homeowner in Western Lawrence who works in Topeka and spends the bulk of his discretionary income in the Kansas City area.

I am not surprised by these rankings whatsoever.

Lawrence?! - A midwestern city with a City Council dominated by an Eastern Lawrence ("let's keep Lawrence artsy and cultural man!") mentality-a mentality which is inherently resistant to growth (re-zoning is not difficult with a functioning city council), a developer/development group that owns vasts amount of land but is in bed with the City enough to demand the kick-backs when and where they see fit, and an electorate that's all to willing to vote for people that simply peg the meter.


Richard Heckler 11 months, 3 weeks ago

The powers that be with keys to the taxpayers purse strings need to slow it down. Taxpayers don't want to become further victims of wrong decisions driven by the panic button.

Lawrence has too much retail space chasing too few vendors, which means that many stores go empty, especially in the older shopping centers like downtown.

30 years ago when we chose Lawrence downtown had no vacancies,was thriving and had quite a diverse shopping experience. The wheel was not broken = was never any reason to reinvent the wheel. The Chamber and the development community decided to break the wheel = not a great idea.

The surplus development has stalled redevelopment plans downtown and has pushed the vacancy rates so high that disinvestment and blight now threaten.

The recession has contributed to the problem, but had we properly managed our growth we would be much better off.

The developers’ short-term gain is now our long-term loss. Managed growth would have prevented much of the problem and would have protected and enhanced our downtown.

Why further destroy downtown? Downtown is the draw to Lawrence... let's not blow it.


Richard Heckler 11 months, 3 weeks ago

For 30 years the Lawrence mismanagement machine has been controlled by the developer influenced planning commission,planning department and city commission all of which have been led by the real estate/developer controlled Chamber of Commerce. 30 years of wrong decisions.

Saturated markets are business unfriendly across the board. Expanding the tax base must be done slowly,methodical and fiscally responsible. Lawrence received 30 years of anything BUT slowly,methodical and fiscally responsible growth. Reckless is the word.

With expanded dumb growth comes more crime and higher cost of living. Nobody moves to Lawrence hoping it will grow into what they left behind. The only SOLID industry Lawrence has failed to develop is the higher education industry. Lawrence is 25 years behind in bringing on a larger Vo-Tech campus. Students are good money for Lawrence.

Developing a bedroom community as always is about selling real estate not improving the quality of life or making sensible market decisions. Bedroom communities are expensive to maintain.

Lawrence,Kansas is a small town with only so many retail dollars available simple as that just like any other market.

Saturated markets are business unfriendly.

People have moved to Lawrence for years knowing there are not shopping centers on every corner which is quite pleasing frankly. Who needs that? People also moved here realizing if what cannot be found in Lawrence can be found in KCMO/JOCO metro which is fine and dandy. Lawrence can never replace the KCMO metro.

People lived here for decades upon decades without a shopping center on every corner and have yet to move. New people continue to move in.

The message ; Quit thinking Lawrence can be the KCMO/JOCO metro and get real. The only SOLID industry Lawrence has failed to develop is the education industry. Retail is not a solid industry especially when developed under the illusion Lawrence can be the KCMO metro.


fmrl 11 months, 3 weeks ago

You think it's bad now, wait until more people catch on to the con game that is called "Higher Education." Lawrence is based on the university and it is overbuilt. There is going to be a real downward spiral.


stranger_na_strangeland 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Anyway, I just bought a house in Lawrence Kansas, the attitude when I left Colorado was of the variety : Kansas? Why would you take that job in Kansas? But I am very glad I did and have had very little complaints. I deleted Tonganoxie and Basehor immediately. After reading who ran the towns in Leavenworth County, reading up on the County Commissioners and looking at houses, it was an easy choice. The "cities" in Leavenworth County and the housing provided reminded me of the housing boom ghost towns in the southwest. There is no character there, none. its like you would be sitting in an open field waiting for the tornado to take you out of your misery. Lawrence has character and personality not found in Kansas. I would rather pay for that, you can't put a price on it. it is attractive to some and repulsive to others. I just couldn't imagine living in a field in a basement. Southern Leavenworth has a bankrupt mall, a racetrack and Cerner (which could be outsourced like so many others) yet it has no character, none. Lawrence has character.


Fred Whitehead Jr. 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I thought this newsrag was in the business of presenting NEWS! This is NOT news.

This town has been an economic disaster in the 30+ years I have been here. You do not want to be unemployed in Lawrence. About the only businesses in town are a greeting card maker that shuffles employees and work around to the cheapest vvenue, a university who's job opportunities are unfanthomable, and a factory that makes whistles and tin horns hooked to a piano-like keyboard to sop up extra money that most churches do not have.

The city government has been broken for years. We need a city system that represents all the sections of town but we get this collection of agendaed wonks that like to build roundabouts and refuse to allow viable businesses locate here.

But nothing will change. Look at the voter turnout. Most people here do not give a damn.

End of story,.


oneeye_wilbur 11 months, 3 weeks ago

So much for Leadership Lawrence!


Brandon Devlin 11 months, 3 weeks ago

"And this is a complete surprise" said nobody, ever.


stranger_na_strangeland 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow....My comment about Tonganoxie was deleted. Guess I ran amuck of the local mafia boss and civil rights thug. Fact remains, local Governments like those in southern Leavenworth County are run by a few uneducated contractors. Never understood how people would put their trust in contractors that have no credentials. None. High School maybe, but that's it. No license is required to build some of those horrible looking boring houses in that county. The contractors do not have a license, do not have insurance, no concern for anything except building houses and claiming growth? Growth from where? No beach, no retirement mecca, no mountains, no snow, etc. With all these factors against you, it would seem that the people in general would get tired of the same people making the same mistakes, watching their kids leave for better places and allowing contractors to fly under the radar and rip off the taxpayer by not even paying their due taxes. Oh well, I guess this magical pie in the sky from the mysterious companies that are going to move here will pay enough taxes to make up for the lack of taxes paid by local contractors. (Reference to other counties, not Douglas). The smoke and mirrors tactic seems to work well in rural Kansas. I thought about Tonganoxie, but then I spent a day there, Lawrence is on the right track.
The people that were once hippies are the same people that are now retiring and have piled up the cash for decades. Being a "progressive" city will attract retirees, it works in many places. The retirees that Lawrence would attract would be less affluent than some that picked California or Utah or Colorado, however, they would still pump money and jobs into the system.


rlsd 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I am not at all surprised, I have thought this for years. And the sad thing is no one does ONE thing about it. Good Old Boys Rule......and our city officials support them....


oneeye_wilbur 11 months, 3 weeks ago

You want retirees? Exempt the planned development for 55 and older from the school taxes. Build a Del Webb community? Will it happen? No, because it would be so far away from the uinversity and downtown that no one will buy in to it.

To make downtown viable, bulldoze most of East Lawrence, build new. Kansas City Missouri, new is in "old" is out.l Just this weekend went to Yardley Center at JCCC. Imagine, the patrons could be let out of their car at the entrance. Lied Center? NO! Ku thinks of everything!


cowboy 11 months, 3 weeks ago

opinions are like @@@@@@@'s everybody has one...

I would agree with our ranking being a 35 year resident I used to brag on Lawrence , not so much anymore.

My Issues 1. Jobs . Im in my 60's now and watch all these loser loadie kids walking around town plus the many neighborhoods that are low income high failure types. Add to that the current crop of parents bringing their feral children to school . I look and say how can these people pull themselves up here. There are not good jobs for the lower end. All of us smart ones can say that you just work harder and be aggressive and on and on but in my day I always had a better job to move to. Thats not the case here for our disadvantaged. Part time , crappy wages , crappy employers = little opportunity.

  1. Growth . The well meaning nannies of Lawrence have all but strangled the growth here. every proposal brings out Agnes the Frog , Don't kill puppies , and the free hemp signs. Open up the faucet for awhile folks.

  2. Retirement ? The latest incarnation of retiree attraction , a planned community. This is code for overpriced housing for the elderly. build some modest smaller floor plan homes that are not tied to a care organization. I want to lower my housing cost when I downsize but I don't want to live in old people jail. When I play my punk music loud it tends to cause trouble.

As for Lawrence as a destination for retirees , hmmmm. Most of the entertainment is for 25 year old potential alcoholics. Whats to do here ? Gotta be honest I'll maintain a small home or apartment here but am outta here upon retirement. to much to do and see to stay here and grow mold.



WristTwister 11 months, 3 weeks ago

The People's Republic of Lawrence, 28 square miles surrounded by reality.


Paul R Getto 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Biased study, as all this complex are. Growth for growth's sake will be the death of us all. We need to grow smartly, if that is politically possible. Long term problems with water supply may be just around the corner. Growth and good water have always been connected. Also never forget: growth means bonds, junk or otherwise, interest, debt, taxes and in some cases a rigged deck. Be careful what you ask for and hope the bankers are honest.


scaramouchepart2 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I am glad to hear this report supports research done locally. Lawrence has spent far to much money on waiting for manufacturing/warehouse jobs. A SWOT analysis should show the job skills of Lawrence fits the report. The Joint Economic Development Commttee should looking into ways to market Lawrence as stated. TREO did this with hours and hours of pulblc input and is now growing in jobs that fit their regional area. (Tucson). We are not looking at ways that saves money by pin pointing the marketing of Lawrence. But what is worse is we are not able to grow globally with cross cultural training programs. There are levels key city staff and members of the city leadership must be trained. We lost a Greman business last year. Partly lack of job training ability and cultural ability. We should be marketing Lawrence as veterinarian pharmaceuticals, entrepreneurial incubator to keep graduates here and provide jobs that fit the tesidents jobb skills and the housing price points. Lawrence is set between KC with intermodal and an international airport 1hour away. I bit farther, but not unmarketable. Topeka the capital with air transport and railroads. We should be the next biggest business location spot. The comp plan is not at fault as recently determined, so we need to change the way we think about business and drop the 80's attitude. It no longer works. Backshoring, geen industry, new industries, global product built locally to help cut transportation costs and many more. More and more companies have started building their product where they plan to sell it. Hyundai and Toyota were two if the first companies to cut transportation costs buy building locally sold cars, made locally. Not that we want to build cars, but other industries are also moving to this idea.


ChuckFInster 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Lawrence seems to be on the same path as Emporia. A few Good Ol' boys call the shots and dictate what happens, by who, when and where. Much like Lawrence, Emporia does seem to keep low wages and menial jobs in supply for the masses.


midwest_muser 11 months, 3 weeks ago

It seems like the answer is to have more gays come out of the closet...


Rastaman 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Lawrence deservedly has a "non business friendly" reputation. I know numerous people that have tried to bring in national companies and have stated that Lawrence has too many hoops in place to jump through. It's truly sad. It's weird that a multi-million dollar rec center can go from an idea to breaking ground in less than a year when outside business can't even sniff any sort of permit in less than a year.


KansasLiberal 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Lawrence is a bedroom community/college town and will never be anything more. Embrace that instead of trying to be something that you'll never be.


chicago95 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Fine reporting and context from Chad.

Here's another theory.... Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter with Kansas" came out in 2004, creating an indelible meme. The Milken statistics report on the aftermath of that effect. (Luckily, no one thinks that way any more, thanks to the "leadership" exhibited by former and current administrations and a chastened electorate.)


irvan moore 11 months, 3 weeks ago

how can this be true, I heard the mayor and the other commissioners telling us what a great job they are doing, hotels, apartments, tax abatements, recreation centers


stranger_na_strangeland 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Cost of a 600 square foot "Condo" in Durango...........1700 a month with no parking and people stacked like sardines. Having been there for 12 years, most people have dreams of making it in Colorado and start a business and everything is great for about 2 years. After that, they find out they don't make enough money to survive and they move on. Happens like clockwork. PhD's selling burritos and everyone grows and sells pot or any other natural 'herbal" remedy to make ends meet. No one wants to return to California so you see "Park Rangers" everywhere, (otherwise known as homeless or "Freegans".


catfishturkeyhunter 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Lawrence is a nice town, I like it alright. I have been to a lot nicer places, but I have been to a lot worse too.


Jeanne Cunningham 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Maybe we LIKE it just the way it IS - and IF it changed too much, we might not want to be here??? Beauty (and performance based on economics) are in the eye of the beholder.


jonas_opines 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey, is this the thread where we see a data point that has no given certain cause so we just insert our political and ideological leanings and blithely state that the policies of the political opposition are absolutely to blame? Hot damn!


Paul Silkiner 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Simply put: Liberal or progressive economic policies do not promote growth. They do how ever follow a path of diminishing returns. This has been true for centuries as evidenced by history.


brendanlaw 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Economic growth is not a clear indication of peoples' happiness. I see happy people in Lawrence, I see people more concerned about each other than about bringing in giant corporate "job creators". Screw that index, probably funded by companies that have huge clout in frivolous high-tech industries, trying to light the fire under cities they think are "underperforming".


LogicMan 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Let's go for #1! Run off Menards, now!


LegendaryBeast 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Looks like Brownback's follies are starting to show their effects! Cities in Kansas seem to really be suffering through the past couple of years.


Bud Stagg 11 months, 3 weeks ago

How many engineers, architects, etc. stay in Lawrence after they graduate? I have family that has wanted to move a tech company here and there is no labor force to draw upon, they are going elsewhere.


blindrabbit 11 months, 3 weeks ago

City burdened by a lousy form of City Government; ,how antiquated. Need a Strong Mayor form with some more direct responsibility to the electorate. Current City Manager is a joke, continuous promotions foisted on the citizenry by a bunch of elected pretenders wit little qualifications!


FlintlockRifle 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Shirley ( don't call me Shirley) you Josh, Lawrence wasn't in the top ten, oh to shame


billybob1 11 months, 3 weeks ago

You can all thank Dolph for the ranking. I am sure he is delighted. He hates everything about Lawrence and makes that point every week.


fan4kufootball 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Lawrence needs a mixture of all types of business since all humans do not have the same skill set. Just a fact.


thefisherman 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Proof that Lawrence is not as "cool" or "business friendly" as our "leaders" like to think it is. I enjoy living here but just don't get the hype.

You just can't mention Lawrence in the same sentence as Fort Collins. The locally brewed beer scene is much more extensive out there than it is here. Sorry, Free State.


David Klamet 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I am in the quandary that I like Lawrence at it's current size, but I'd like it to be big enough to support more tech companies so I could work here again.

A crash course to deploy fiber internet would differentiate the city and might attract tech businesses. At some point (hopefully sooner than later), fiber connectivity will become common and the opportunity will have passed.

Such a program would have a far bigger impact than a new library or sports complex.


Pepe 11 months, 3 weeks ago

If the study measured the amount of worthless hipsters per capita, Lawrence would have been much higher in the rankings.


Lynn731 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I would have rated it the worst.


esteshawk 11 months, 3 weeks ago

To all who say regulations and left leaning politics are to blame: look where Boulder is on that list. They have had very strict growth limits for 20 years, and just this winter approved their first Wal Mart. It's easy to blame City Hall, isn't it?


oneeye_wilbur 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Manhattan will grow as soon as their infrastructure is in. It's going to happen.

Southern Leavenworth county is next with an industrial park on the way. Turnpike entrance was put in several years. East Hills and the Farmland property is hampered with a dinky dinky K 10. . Lawrence has no leaders at City Hall!


William Weissbeck 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Must be something about Kansas. There is nothing to applaud when none of our major cities rank high. KCK beating out Topeka which beat out Wichita, but all in the bottom half. Rockford, IL ranked above these places. I've been to Rockford. That's a really sad comparison.


Timothy Eugene 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Liberal Lawrence getting what it deserves....

Maybe if you ditched the tattooed, pink-haired, pierced, pony-tailed hippies and the communes, actually brought in some businesses that provide jobs to people who want to work, Lawrence could turn this around.

Hope and change! Hope and change!


catfishturkeyhunter 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I wouldn't even mention Lawrence in the same sentence as Boulder or Fort Collins.


clovis_sangrail 11 months, 3 weeks ago

We need more minimum wage service and retail jobs, but we've run off Lowe's and Olive Garden and Menard's.


The_Original_Bob 11 months, 3 weeks ago

And you Lawrence people keep electing the same bozos to run the city.


toe 11 months, 3 weeks ago

City Hall and the Chamber have worked hand in hand to make only a few in Lawrence benefit from growth and keeping growth from infringing these monopolies. Government is not the only barrier to growth in Lawrence. It is all the little kingdoms that abhor competition and any one else making a buck other than them. The lack of growth in Lawrence is a symptom of a serious problem in Lawrence with the few refusing to letting go for the benefit of the many. Typical of a most dying communities where hoarding instead of growing the pie is the response to change.


blindrabbit 11 months, 3 weeks ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.


cheeseburger 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Business and industry unfriendly. Failing infrastructure. Too much focus on history and arts. Silly ordinances. Far left leaning constituency.

Yeah, I'd say that rating is well-deserved.



joes_donuts 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Sad, but something most business people in Lawrence already know. Until we quit telling everyone "no", corporations with jobs to bring will continue to look elsewhere and not even consider Lawrence.


blindrabbit 11 months, 3 weeks ago

After all of these years of this City self-promoting itself in any kind of ranking that might give it some importance; the Big Chicken comes home to roost. Enough beating Columbia, Manhattan, Ames, Lincoln and every other Big 12 (former included) into this self delusion. No more "City of The Arts", "Art of the City" and whatever else the DLI, Chamber and City can blow, Lawrence has some serious issues than an ostrich with it's head in the sand cannot detect.


To Sides 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Milken Institute- "The institute was founded in 1991 by former Drexel Burnham Lambert banker Michael Milken, who is known for his role in the development of the market for high-yield bonds (also called junk bonds) during the 1970s and 1980s and his 1990 guilty plea to multiple felony charges that he violated US securities laws."


greatgatsby 11 months, 3 weeks ago

How is it a positive note that Manhattan wasn't ranked? If it wasn't ranked it wasn't considered and that's likely got nothing to do with it being a subpar city, it's probably the fact that no one would consider it a metropolitan area. I wish we could have the growth here that they are having out there. Maybe then we wouldn't be considered the second worst small metropolitan city!


g_rock 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Of course I read it and assumed that our nature of being a college town was a factor in the low wage and job growth. We smart up the kids and send them elsewhere to where the growth IS. But then look at Ames, Iowa City and Waco. What is the real difference here? Johnson county wage/tech suck? Bedroom/commuter city?


Pepe 11 months, 3 weeks ago

At least we beat Carson City, Nevada -- things must be really dead there.


MMorton 11 months, 3 weeks ago

At least we're not Topeka, amirite? Anybody? Is this thing on?


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