American cities are changing with domestic migration. Kansas data excerpted.
A new study looks at the characteristics of migrants in America — that is, individuals and families moving one city to another. 1 (“City” in this context means a consolidated statistical area, metropolitan statistical area, or micropolitan statistical area.)
The author explains: “Domestic migration across U.S. metropolitan areas is selective: in-migrants to expensive metros tend to have higher incomes and educational attainment than out-migrants, while the opposite is true in the least expensive metros. This pattern contributes to the process of polarization across U.S. metros.”
The data is fascinating. Consider the household income of in-migrants and out-migrants. For the Wichita CSA, the median household income of in-migrants is $36,998, and for out-migrants, $38,814. The difference is -$1,186. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Wichita is becoming poorer, as this data is only for households migrating to and from Wichita. (The figures are the average values for the years 2005 to 2016.)
This result is not surprising, as the study notes a correlation between housing prices and a positive difference in migrant income. As Wichita has relatively low housing prices, a negative difference in migrant income is natural, according to the study data.
The study supplies data for all areas in the nation. I’ve isolated data for Kansas and present it here. Where is Lawrence? It’s part of the Kansas City-Overland Park-Kansas City, MO-KS CSA.
One of the tables released is “Over-the-year change in total nonfarm employment for metropolitan areas, not seasonally adjusted,” which shows changes in jobs from February 2017 to February 2018. 2 For this time period for the Wichita metropolitan area, the number of nonfarm jobs fell from 294.7 thousand to 292.3 thousand, a decline of 2,400 jobs or 0.8 percent.
In February, 313 metropolitan areas had over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment, 69 had decreases, and 6 had no change.
Over the same period, the unemployment rate in the Wichita MSA fell from 4.6 percent to 4.1 percent. The labor force fell from 309,336 to 304,886.
One of the tables released is “Over-the-year change in total nonfarm employment for metropolitan areas, not seasonally adjusted,” which shows changes in jobs from January 2017 to January 2018. 2 For this time period for the Wichita metropolitan area, the number of nonfarm jobs fell from 292.1 thousand to 291.1 thousand, a decline of 1,000 jobs or 0.3 percent.
Of 382 metropolitan areas, 57 performed worse than did Wichita. For these metro areas, the average growth in jobs was 1.15 percent.
Over the same period the unemployment rate in the Wichita MSA fell from 4.6 percent to 3.7 percent.
An interactive visualization of the civilian labor force, employment, and unemployment, for each state.
In the example from the visualization shown below, which shows indexed employment growth, you can see that Kansas (the highlighted line) is not faring well. There aren’t many states whose lines are below that of Kansas.
This data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the United States Department of Labor. It is current through January 2018.
Click here to use the visualization and to learn about the meaning of the data series. There are four views of the data, accessible through the tabs along the top. You may select a time frame and any combination of states. By clicking on the color legend, you can emphasize the lines for one or more states. (Ctrl+click to add more than one line.)
In the area of growth, Wichita ranked 91 out of 100 metropolitan areas. For jobs, the ranking was 89. In the charts, you can see that since the last recession, the Wichita area is falling behind the country, with the gap growing each year. The good news in growth is that Wichita ranks higher in jobs at young firms (67 of 100). Young firms — which are different from small business — are vitally important to economic growth. 1
In the two other major categories that Brookings looks at, Wichita is 91 out of 100 in prosperity, and 94 out of 100 in inclusion.
These rankings are based on values through 2016 and represent change from 2015. The index also has data for two other time periods of longer duration.
As the Brookings data end in 2016, what might we find if the data was based on 2017 values? Some of the data Brookings uses is not available until after a lengthy delay, such GDP for metropolitan areas. That data, which is an important indicator of a region’s economic health, is scheduled to be released in September 2018 for complete year 2017 data.
Employment data is available fairly quickly, although it is often revised each year in March. The nearby chart, displaying data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows changes in the average annual employment for Wichita and the nation. For the year 2016, total nonfarm employment in Wichita rose by 0.61 percent. For 2017, the growth rate was 0.54 percent — a slowdown in job growth. An interactive version of the chart is available here. 2
These growth figures are far below the rate for the nation, which were 1.79 and 1.58 percent respectively.
Wichita leaders are talking about success in developing the Wichita economy; that there is momentum for the future. Based on the data we have available, the rate of growth of employment slowed down in 2017 from what was already anemic growth. What is the basis for optimism if we continue our present policies and leadership?
FRED, from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, is a resource for examining economic data and creating charts and tables. Most of the available data is data gathered from other sources, in this case the Bureau of Labor Statistics. FRED provides a consistent interactive interface to the data, and provides several ways to share the data. Start at https://fred.stlouisfed.org/. ↩
Greater Wichita Partnership (GWP) has requested $45,000 from Sedgwick County to engage the services of a consultant to direct an initiative to bring more focus to GWP’s regional economic development efforts. This one-time request, if provided, is intended to be leveraged with $45,000 from the City of Wichita and another $45,000 from GWP. Sedgwick County’s committment would represent one-third of the consultant’s work.
The proposed consulting engagement would be designed with two primary goals:
1. Develop a strategic plan for GWP that establishes an organizational structure to optimize and coordinate regional economic development efforts that grow opportunities, help create and maintain jobs, and promote the region as an attractive place to locate and/or grow a business.
2. Bring clarity and innovative ways for the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth (BREG) to expand. We need to develop strategies to work together as a region to maintain and grow the Aerospace clusters for which we are known globally; while working to attract and grow businesses in other industries that will strengthen and diversify the regional economy.
There are a few ways to look at this request. One is that presently, GWP is working well and providing positive results, so there’s no need to spend money on the organization’s improvement. Local leaders seem pleased with GWP and its work. In January Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell said “It’s hard to find a time when we’ve had more momentum.” 1 There are many other example of praise heaped on GWP and its leaders.
Or: We might argue that even though GWP is performing well, an overhaul could really boost its efforts.
Or: We might wonder how this organization is just getting started doing things like working on its focus and strategies. (While GWP is relatively new, it is a successor to a previous economic development group, with many of the same leaders and employees.)
What has GWP been doing? How effective is its stewardship of the Wichita-area economy? Here are some numbers on the Wichita-area economy.
Personal income. For the Wichita metropolitan statistical area, personal income in 2016 rose slightly from 2015 level, but is still below the 2014 level. In real (inflation-adjusted) dollars, personal income fell in 2016. 2
Employment. While officials promote the low Wichita-area unemployment rate, there is an alternative interpretation: The May 2017 unemployment rate declined to just about half the January 2011 rate. The number of employed persons rose by 1.1 percent, but the labor force fell by 3.7 percent. If we consider only unemployment rate, it looks like the Wichita area is prospering. But the unemployment rate hides bad news: The number of jobs increased only slightly, and the labor force fell by a lot. While it’s good that there are more people working, the decline in the labor force is a problem. 3
Population. In 1990 Wichita was the 80th largest SMA. In 2016 its ranking had fallen to 87.
Growth in output. The worst news, however, is that the Wichita-area economy shrank from 2015 to 2016. In real (inflation-adjusted) dollars, the Wichita metropolitan area gross domestic product fell by 1.4 percent. For all metropolitan areas, GDP grew by 1.7 percent. Since 2001, GDP for all metropolitan areas grew by 29.3 percent, while Wichita had 12.3 percent growth. 4
With these points in mind, we ought to wonder if GWP and its leadership ought to be replaced with something else.
This item will be handled on the commission’s consent agenda, meaning that there will be no discussion or individual vote unless a commissioner decides to “pull” the item.
Personal income growth in Kansas trails most of the nation. While personal income for the nation grew at the rate of 0.6 percent in the third quarter, Kansas grew at 0.3 percent. Only three states experienced slower growth.
For the country as a whole, personal income grew at the annual rate of 0.7 percent from the previous quarter. For Kansas, the rate was 0.3 percent. That was the forty-seventh best rate. This continues the trend of Kansas underperforming the nation in recent years.
An interactive visualization of labor force, employment, and unemployment rate for all metropolitan areas in the United States.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, part of the United States Department of Labor, makes monthly employment and unemployment statistics available. I’ve gathered them for all metropolitan areas and present them in an interactive visualization.
The labor force, specifically the civilian labor force, are those people working, plus those people actively searching for work, minus people under 16 years of age, minus people living in institutions (for example, correctional facilities, long-term care hospitals, and nursing homes), minus people on active duty in the Armed Forces. 1
BLS defines unemployed people as: “Persons aged 16 years and older who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the 4-week period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.” 2
The unemployment rate is “the number unemployed as a percent of the labor force.” 3
In the visualization you may select tabs to show a table or a chart. You may select a range of dates and the metro areas that appear.
Charts of employment in the Wichita metro area, along with Kansas and the United States.
Since 1990 the country has experienced three recessions. For the first two, Wichita was able to catch up with the employment growth experienced by the entire nation.
For the most recent recession, however, this hasn’t been the case. In fact, as time has progressed since 2010, the gap between Wichita and the nation has grown. Wichita is falling farther behind. You can also see evidence of this in the chart of one-year and five-year changes in employment. The peaks for the five-year series have become shorter and narrower, indicating weaker recoveries from recessions.
Source of data is Bureau of Labor Statistics, an agency of the United States Department of Labor, 1 specifically the Current Employment Statistics program. 2 Charts created by the author. The charts of employment are indexed so that relative changes may be compared. Clicking charts may produce larger versions.
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. Its mission is to collect, analyze, and disseminate essential economic information to support public and private decision-making. As an independent statistical agency, BLS serves its diverse user communities by providing products and services that are objective, timely, accurate, and relevant.” Bureau of Labor statistics. About BLS.https://www.bls.gov/bls/infohome.htm. ↩
An interactive visualization of data over time from the National Transit Database.
Do you wonder how much it costs to run your transit system? The National Transit Database holds data for transit systems in the U.S. I’ve gathered some key statistics and presented them in an interactive visualization.
In the case of Wichita, we see that “OpExp per PMT” for 2015 is $1.02. This is total operating expense per passenger mile traveled. It’s not the cost to move a bus a mile down the street. It’s the cost to move one passenger one mile. And, it is operating cost only, which means the costs of the buses are not included.
Some definitions used in the database:
UZA: The name of the urbanized area served primarily by a transit agency.
UPT: Unlinked passenger trips.
PMT: Passenger miles traveled.
Total OpExp: Total operating expense.
The visualization holds three tabs. One is a table of figures. The other two illustrate data for a single transit system or single mode.
Dashboards of economic indicators for Wichita and Kansas, compared to the United States.
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis gathers economic data from sources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. This data is then available in an interactive graphing and charting system.
Using this system, I’ve created dashboards (collections of charts) holding economic data for Wichita and Kansas. The charts, as they appear on the dashboard, are static, although they should show the most current data. At the bottom of each chart is the link “View on FRED.” By clicking on that link you gain access to the interactive version of the chart. You may then make many different types of customizations.
Wichita has recovered from recessions, but after the most recent, the city is falling further behind.
Since 1990 the country has experienced three recessions. For the first two of these, Wichita was able to catch up with the employment growth experienced by the entire nation.
For the most recent recession, however, this hasn’t been the case. In fact, as time progressed since 2010, the gap between Wichita and the nation has grown.
Following are three charts of private sector employment for the Wichita metro area and the nation. Each is indexed starting with the end of a recession so that job growth may be compared. Click charts for larger version. You may access and alter the chart here.
An interactive visualization of income growth and change in the states, by major sector.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis, an agency of the United States Department of Commerce, collects and analyses data regarding the U.S. and world economies. One series is personal income, defined by BEA as “Personal income is the income received by, or on behalf of, all persons from all sources: from participation as laborers in production, from owning a home or business, from the ownership of financial assets, and from government and business in the form of transfers. It includes income from domestic sources as well as the rest of world. It does not include realized or unrealized capital gains or losses.”1
Data is available for farm and non-farm income. I’ve gathered this data from BEA and present it in an
interactive visualization. This is a series named SA4. Data is subdivided farm or non-farm, and also by state and regions. There are three views of data. Some work best with just two or three states, while others can show many states. You may choose a range of dates (this data is annual through 2016). Also, select one or more states or regions. Click on the legend to highlight one or more series. Trends over time are shown as percentage change from the first year so that comparisons may be made.
Of note is the steep decline in farm income in Kansas and other Plains states.
An index of past economic activity for each state, and another index looking forward. Presented in an interactive visualization.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia calculates two indexes that track and forecast economic activity in the states and the country as a whole.
The coincident index is a measure of current and past economic activity for each state.1 This index includes four indicators: nonfarm payroll employment, the unemployment rate, average hours worked in manufacturing, and wages and salaries (adjusted for inflation). July 1992 is given the value 100.
The leading index anticipates the six-month growth rate of the state’s coincident index.2 In addition to the coincident index, “the models include other variables that lead the economy: state-level housing permits (1 to 4 units), state initial unemployment insurance claims, delivery times from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing survey, and the interest rate spread between the 10-year Treasury bond and the 3-month Treasury bill.”
Positive values mean the coincident index is expected to rise in the future six months, while negative values mean it is expected to fall.
I’ve created an interactive visualization of these two indexes. An example appears nearby. Click here to open the visualization in a new window. You may select a range of dates and one or more states to include on the chart. Click on a state’s legend color to spotlight it against other states.