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New economic numbers show Kansas, Missouri laggards; Eudora ranks high in study of best places to own a home, Lawrence ranks not so well


Maybe we've spent all our energy arguing about whether a football game ought to be played in Arrowhead Stadium. Or maybe we've spent all our money trying to lure businesses from one side of the street in Kansas City to the other. Whatever the case, Kansas and Missouri have missed out on the party, according to the latest batch of economic statistics.

Both states saw their gross domestic products grow at rates much slower than their peers in the Great Plains and central portion of the country. Missouri, at 0.8 percent, had the slowest rate of GDP growth of any state west of the Mississippi River. What's worse for the Show Me State is this latest batch of numbers continues a dismal four-year trend. When Missourians talk about the foundation of their economy, I'm beginning to think they're really talking about the cement blocks that hold up all their vehicles.

Kansas' numbers weren't as bad. It had a growth rate of 1.9 percent, which actually is slightly above the national average of 1.8 percent. But before you unfurl the Mission Accomplished banner, know that Kansas ranked second to last in the Great Plains region — behind Missouri — and had the sixth lowest rate of growth of any state west of the Mississippi. (Why didn't you just ask? There are 22 continental states west of the Mississippi. Now you have to figure out how to fold that map back up.)

These numbers are important because GDP is basically the broadest measure of how a state's economy is performing. It looks at the value of products being produced in essentially every industry operating in a state, from agriculture to manufacturing to tourism. Huh, who would have guessed it, Missouri? Maybe SEC aren't the three most important letters in the alphabet.

Kansas and Missouri are in the Plains region, as defined by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The average growth rate in the Plains region was 2.5 percent. Kansas and Missouri were the only states in the region to be below average. Here's a look:

— North Dakota: 9.7 percent

— South Dakota: 3.1 percent

— Nebraska: 3.0 percent

— Iowa: 2.9 percent

— Minnesota: 2.8 percent

— Kansas: 1.9 percent

— Missouri: 0.8 percent.

Our other neighbors, Oklahoma and Colorado, aren't in the Plains region, but I see you peering through the drapes. You want to know what they are up to as well. Oklahoma grew by 4.2 percent and Colorado by 3.8 percent.

Sometimes it's useful to look at longer-term trends. The latest report provided GDP growth numbers dating back to 2010, and they show two things: North Dakotans strike another batch of oil every time they flush the toilet, and I'm really not unduly picking on Missouri. Missouri's numbers, as distinguished economists would say, really stink. Kansas' numbers, in economic parlance, are moderately trending towards stinkyness. Here's a look at the average, annual growth rate since 2010:

— North Dakota: 11.6 percent

— Nebraska: 3.1 percent

— Minnesota 2.75 percent

— South Dakota: 2.75

— Iowa: 2.4 percent

— Kansas: 2.3 percent

— Missouri: 0.75 percent

In terms of why Kansas didn't fare better in 2013, the report provides some clues. Kansas was the only state in the Plains Region that saw its construction industry and its durable-goods manufacturing industry shrink. Those are two parts of the recovery that didn't find Kansas. Interestingly, Kansas' agriculture industry also didn't add as much to the state's GDP as you might expect. It added 0.6 percent, while the average growth for agriculture in the Plains states was 0.81.

There are probably other factors at play here as well, but I don't have the time to find them. I have to help you fold up that map, and then I need to go buy a toilet in North Dakota.

In other news and notes from around town:

• One community in the area did recently fare well in a report involving numbers. Eudora has made the list of best places for homeownership in Kansas, according to the researchers at NerdWallet, a financial website.

Eudora ranked No. 13 on the list. A big driver of its ranking was that the average homeowner in Eudora spends just 26.7 percent of their household income on homeowner costs (things such as mortgages, taxes, insurance and such). Generally, anything under 30 percent is considered affordable.

The best city in the state for homeownership was Andover, a suburb of Wichita. The average homeowner there spends only 22.2 percent of the household income on homeowner costs.

There was one area city that did not fare so well on the list. I think you know it. The survey measured only those communities with 5,000 or more people, which in Kansas totals 59 communities. Lawrence ranked No. 59 on NerdWallet's list. Lawrence partially was hurt because of the methodology. The homeownership rate is part of what NerdWallet looks at, and Lawrence's college community status results in a low homeownership rate. More people rent in Lawrence than own.

But Lawrence's homeowner costs also weren't good. The average Lawrence homeowner spends 39.2 percent of his household income on homeowner costs. It looks like Manhattan was the only city that had a higher homeowner cost percentage. It checked in at 40.4 percent. But the NerdWallet folks gave Manhattan the No. 58 ranking, I believe because its median home price was lower than Lawrence's and its population growth rate is higher than Lawrence's.

In terms of other area cities, here's a look at their rank and the homeowner cost percentage:

No. 2: Spring Hill, 25.6 percent

No. 5: Gardner: 29 percent

No. 9: Leawood: 23.5 percent

No. 10: Olathe: 26.2 percent

No. 13: Eudora: 26.7 percent

No. 17 Shawnee: 27.5 percent

No. 25 Overland Park: 28.6 percent

No. 41: Lenexa: 28.1 percent

No. 50: Topeka: 32.2 percent

No. 51: Ottawa: 32 percent

No. 52 Kansas City: 37.9 percent

No. 54 Leavenworth: 29.9 percent

No. 58 Manhattan: 40.4 percent

No. 59: Lawrence: 39.2 percent

You can see the full set of rankings here.

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  • Comments

    Clark Coan 3 years, 11 months ago

    I lived in Eudora for a couple of years and it was soooo boring. The downtown is dead as a doornail.

    Some of the residents are descended from the original German settlers and some are descended from Ozark mountain people who moved there to work at Sunflower Army Ammo Plant in the 1940s. The latter's children did so poorly in school they had to get special federal funds to help them.

    Joe Blackford II 3 years, 11 months ago

    "Manhattan was the only city that had a higher homeowner cost percentage."

    Chad - chew on this:

    Homeowner insurance costs in Manhattan are facing a Big Unknown once the DHS National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) becomes operational in 2018.

    Will insurance rates reflect the National Academies of Science finding of a 70% probability of an "accidental" release of Foot & Mouth Disease virus (FMDv), 2018-2068?

    Or, will insurers choose to believe DHS's guesstimate, er propaganda, as prepared by Edward Snowden's last employer, Booz Allen Hamilton?

    "the estimated expected probability that an accidental release of viable FMDv from the NBAF will occur and result in a subsequent outbreak during the NBAF’s nominal 50- year operating lifetime is less than 0.11% (including catastrophic events such as tornados and earthquakes) and less than 0.008% when catastrophic events are excluded."


    "Our team worked with the DHS Science and Technology NBAF Program Manager to formulate strategy and talking points in response to a controversial finding in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report on NBAF’s Site Specific risk assessment. in consultation with Booz Allen Hamilton, NBAF acted quickly in developing both an offensive and defensive messaging strategy for White House and news media briefings and queries. the core messages emphasized NBAF’s commitment to protection and safety, comprehensive mitigation strategies, scientific rigor and evidence-based approaches, and the importance of due diligence and best-in-field practice."


    • Committee on the Evaluation of the Updated Site-Specific Risk Assessment for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas


    "However, the committee finds that some questionable and inappropriate assumptions were made to develop estimates of the probabilities, frequencies, and amounts of release of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDv) and other pathogens. In general, one needs to distinguish between the use of appropriate methods and use of appropriate assumptions to produce estimates. In the uSSRA, the former are generally acceptable, but the latter in some cases are not."

    How will insurance companies consider the probability of "accidental" releases of zoonotic diseases that can be passed between animals and humans, to be studied at the NBAF?

    Manhattan's NBAF Motto

    When Pigs Fly, You May Die ®

    Dave Trabert 3 years, 11 months ago

    The data in this story is for All Industries, which includes Government. The private sector data looks even better.

    Kansas beat the 50-state average and also did better than the states that tax income. I also prepared a 15-year comparison.


    Jeff Fulmer 3 years, 10 months ago

    It's not clear if this comment was intended to deceive or made in error. There's an important distinction between his claim and reality. In I-O accounts, "All industries" includes government industries such as the post office and "special industries" such as owner-occupied buildings. It appears the commentator wants to paint a different picture....

    James Howlette 3 years, 11 months ago

    Stay tuned as Dave puts more Koch-supplied lipstick on that pig.

    Commenting has been disabled for this item.