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Missouri and Kansas lagged the nation in 2011 economic growth

June 8, 2012

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) just released its state-level gross domestic product (GDP) figures for 2011. Forty-three states saw economic growth last year. North Dakota led the pack with a 7.6 percent annual growth rate, followed by Oregon (4.7 percent) and West Virginia (4.5 percent).
To find Missouri and Kansas, unfortunately, we have to look pretty far down the list. Kansas checked in at 35th with a 0.5 percent growth rate. Missouri ranked 43rd with an essentially flat rate.
When we analyze the industries that contributed to each state’s GDP growth, it is evident that states that excel in mining and durable goods manufacturing fared pretty well in 2011. Missouri and Kansas both have a solid durable goods manufacturing base, but this sector did not grow in either state as fast it did nationwide.
The professional, scientific and technical services industry also tells an interesting story. This industry had the greatest contribution to national GDP change in 2011. It grew in Kansas and Missouri as well, but our growth rate was much lower. Within this industry lie some of the key innovative jobs that regions look to cultivate because they tend to be catalysts for more growth. What does it say about states like Missouri and Kansas who are not experiencing the same growth in this competitive industry? Are higher-skilled workers looking to other states that they perceive to offer more opportunity, or better amenities? Or is this just a short-term blip in the data?
Comparable 2011 data for metro areas will be available in September. It will be interesting to see if the Kansas City area follows the statewide trends or if it the bi-state region is economically stronger than the two states.

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