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Kansas City on the World Stage

May 14, 2012

When analyzing all aspects of Kansas City’s economy, it is sometimes helpful to take a step back and look at the BIG economic picture. In economics, the BIG picture is generally expressed as gross domestic product, or GDP.
GDP is the summation of the value all the goods and services produced in an economy in one year. In the Kansas City region, that number is about $106 billion (using current 2010 dollars). To give some context to that figure, if the Kansas City area were a country it would be the 56th largest economy in the world. Our population of 2 million people generates the economic output of a Vietnam or Bangladesh (with populations of 91 million and 148 million respectively).
This translates into $52,557 worth of economic activity per person. Per capita productivity varies widely throughout the country. For instance, the per capita GDP figure in the high-tech San Jose metro area is the highest in the nation at $101,557. Meanwhile, the Riverside-San Bernardino metro area, where the economy is based more on transportation and agriculture, has a per capita GDP of just $25,669.
For comparison, Kansas City lies in the middle of some of our closest peer metros. Denver, Minneapolis and Omaha have a greater GDP per capita than Kansas City, while Oklahoma City and St. Louis have lower per capita figures.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

With its specialization in sectors such as information and financial services, the Kansas City region’s $52,557 per capita GDP lies above the U.S. metro area average of $50,865. The chart below shows the relationship between Kansas City’s per capita GDP and the nation’s metro average GDP. The recession in 2008 and 2009 is evident, as is the start of the recovery in 2010.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis
Even though the economy is not running as quickly and smoothly as we may want right now, it is somewhat heartening to know that Kansas City does have an important presence on the national and world stage.

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