Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition

New metropolitan rankings regarding knowledge-based industries and entrepreneurship

New metropolitan rankings regarding knowledge-based industries and entrepreneurship

New research provides insight into the Wichita metropolitan area economy and dynamism. The Walton Family Foundation has released a study titled "The Most Dynamic Metropolitans," saying it is new research ranking the economic performance of metropolitan areas in the Heartland and across the country. [1. Walton Family Foundation. New Metropolitan Rankings Show Knowledge-Based Industries and Entrepreneurship Drive Success. June 10, 2019. Press release with links to documents available at https://www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org/about-us/newsroom/new-metropolitan-rankings-show-knowledge-based-industries-and-entrepreneurship-drive-success.] Of the study, the authors write "Our Most Dynamic Metropolitan Index, and the analysis contained in this report provides objective insight into the communities providing economic opportunity for their residents,…
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More Wichita planning on tap

More Wichita planning on tap

We should be wary of government planning in general. But when those who have been managing and planning the foundering Wichita-area economy want to step up their management of resources, we risk compounding our problems. As announced by the City of Wichita, "In response to recent recommendations from Project Wichita and the Century II Citizens Advisory Committee, community organizations and their leadership are stepping forward to take the next step to create a comprehensive master plan and vision that connects projects and both banks of the Arkansas River." The city says these organizations will be involved: Downtown Wichita Greater Wichita…
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In Wichita, respecting the people’s right to know

In Wichita, respecting the people’s right to know

The City of Wichita says it values open and transparent government. But the city's record in providing information and records to citizens is poor, and there hasn't been much improvement. The City of Wichita is proud to be an open and transparent governmental agency, its officials say. Former Mayor Carl Brewer often spoke in favor of government transparency. [1. For example, in his State of the City address for 2011, Brewer listed as an important goal for the city this: "And we must provide transparency in all that we do." See https://drive.google.com/open?id=1xgx96BEXALDEgLBRcQdz2Kg0_W5x3e2J.] When the city received an award for transparency…
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Sedgwick County income and poverty

Sedgwick County income and poverty

Census data show Sedgwick County continuing to fall behind the nation in two key measures. Data released today from the United States Census Bureau through the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) Program shows Sedgwick County median household income continues to fall farther behind the nation. In 1989, median household income in Sedgwick County was greater than that for Kansas and the nation. In 2017, however, Sedgwick County has fallen behind both. In 1989, the all-age poverty rate in Sedgwick County was less than the national rate, but now it is higher. As can be seen in the nearby…
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An endorsement from the Wichita Chamber of Commerce

An endorsement from the Wichita Chamber of Commerce

When the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee endorses a candidate, consider what that means. If you've been following analyst James Chung -- and it seems like everyone has -- he's delivered a sobering message: The Wichita economy has not been growing. "[Wichita has been] stuck in neutral for about three decades, with basically no growth, amidst the landscape of a growing U.S. economy," he said. (In fact, in 2016 the Wichita economy shrank from the previous year, and numbers for 2017 don't look much better.) Chung says we need to change our ways. In his June visit…
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Wichita in ‘Best Cities for Jobs 2018’

Wichita in ‘Best Cities for Jobs 2018’

Wichita continues to decline in economic vitality, compared to other areas. NewGeography.com is a joint venture of Joel Kotkin and Praxis Strategy Group. Its annual "Best Cities for Jobs" project ranks metropolitan areas according to growth in employment. Of 422 metropolitan areas considered, Wichita ranked 383, dropping 28 spots since the previous year. Among 100 medium size metropolitan areas, Wichita ranked 93, dropping 5 spots from the previous year. NewGeography.com uses employment data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics from November 2006 to January 2018. [2. "The methodology for our 2018 ranking largely corresponds to that used in…
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Wichita employment down, year-over-year

Wichita employment down, year-over-year

At a time Wichita leaders promote forward momentum in the Wichita economy, year-over-year employment has fallen. Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released employment statistics through February 2018. [1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Summary. Available at https://www.bls.gov/news.release/metro.nr0.htm.] 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. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over-the-year change in total nonfarm employment for metropolitan areas, not seasonally adjusted. Available at https://www.bls.gov/web/metro/metro_oty_change.htm.] For this time period for the Wichita metropolitan area,…
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Wichita employment down, year-over-year

Wichita employment down, year-over-year

At a time Wichita leaders promote forward momentum in the Wichita economy, year-over-year employment has fallen. Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released employment statistics through January 2018. [1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Summary. Available at https://www.bls.gov/news.release/metro.nr0.htm.] 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. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over-the-year change in total nonfarm employment for metropolitan areas, not seasonally adjusted. Available at https://www.bls.gov/web/metro/metro_oty_change.htm.] For this time period for the Wichita metropolitan area,…
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Wichita job growth

Wichita job growth

Wichita economic development efforts viewed in context. Greater Wichita Partnership is the organization with primary responsibility for economic development in the Wichita area. Data provided by GWP shows that since 2004, GWP takes credit for creating an average 1,847 jobs per year through its economic development efforts. [1. Greater Wichita Partnership - 2017 Investment Request. Part of the February 15, 2017 Sedgwick County Commission meeting. Available at https://goo.gl/hk6RHB.] To determine whether this is an impressive amount, we need context. Over the past ten years the labor force for the Wichita MSA has averaged 314,877 each month (in May 2017 it…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita and Kansas economies

WichitaLiberty.TV: Wichita and Kansas economies

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Bob Weeks and Karl Peterjohn discuss issues regarding the Wichita and Kansas economies. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 163, broadcast September 3, 2017. Shownotes Wichita employment trends. While the unemployment rate in the Wichita metropolitan area has been declining, the numbers behind the decline are not encouraging. Downtown Wichita business trends. There has been much investment in Downtown Wichita, both public and private. What has been the trend in business activity during this time? Wichita downtown plan focused on elite values, incorrect assumptions. One of the themes of those planning…
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Wichita employment trends

Wichita employment trends

While the unemployment rate in the Wichita metropolitan area has been declining, the numbers behind the decline are not encouraging. The unemployment rate, a widely-cited measure of the health of an economy, is not an absolute measure. Instead, it is a ratio, specifically the ratio of the number of unemployed people to the number of people in the labor force. (The labor force, broadly, is the number of persons working plus those actively looking for work. [1. The labor force, specifically the civilian labor force, are those people working, plus those people actively searching for work, minus people under 16…
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Wichita MSA employment series

Wichita MSA employment series

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…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: John Todd and Wichita issues

WichitaLiberty.TV: John Todd and Wichita issues

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: John Todd joins Bob Weeks and Karl Peterjohn to discuss issues involving the City of Wichita, including the future of Naftzger Park and economic development. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 157, broadcast July 9, 2017. Shownotes Wichita Pachyderm Club on Facebook Article link: An information resource regarding the future of Naftzger Park in downtown Wichita Article link: Downtown Wichita business trends: There has been much investment in Downtown Wichita, both public and private. What has been the trend in business activity during this time? Article link: Downtown Wichita jobs, sort…
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Wichita post-recession job growth

Wichita post-recession job growth

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…
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During Sunshine Week, here are a few things Wichita could do

During Sunshine Week, here are a few things Wichita could do

The City of Wichita says it values open and transparent government, but the city lags far behind in providing information and records to citizens. The City of Wichita is proud to be an open and transparent governmental agency, its officials say. Former Mayor Carl Brewer often spoke in favor of government transparency. For example, in his State of the City address for 2011, he listed as an important goal for the city this: "And we must provide transparency in all that we do." When the city received an award for transparency in 2013, a city news release quoted Wichita City…
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Greater Wichita Partnership

Greater Wichita Partnership

Greater Wichita Partnership features untruthful information on its website, which casts doubt on the reliability of the organization and the City of Wichita. Greater Wichita Partnership uses the url of its predecessor, the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, or GWEDC. GWP is in charge of efforts to develop the economy in the greater Wichita area. It describes itself as "a driving force in building a remarkable city and region."[1. Greater Wichita Partnership. About us. http://www.gwedc.org/about_us/about_us.] But there is a problem. Based on the information GWP makes available on the front page of its website, I don't have much confidence in…
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What else can Wichita do for downtown companies?

What else can Wichita do for downtown companies?

With all Wichita has done, it may not be enough. Within a month, these two headlines appeared in the opinion pages of the Wichita Eagle: Investment in downtown Wichita is impressive [1. Brownlee, Phillip. Investment in downtown Wichita is impressive. Wichita Eagle. March 5, 2016. Available at www.kansas.com/opinion/editorials/article64129977.html.] State and local leaders need to help meet Cargill’s needs [2. Holman, Rhonda. State and local leaders need to help meet Cargill’s needs. Wichita Eagle. April 1, 2016. Available at www.kansas.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/now-consider-this/article69534982.html.] The second headline was in response to the news story "Cargill plans to move its Wichita headquarters -- but where?" [3.…
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Brookings Metro Monitor and Wichita

Brookings Metro Monitor and Wichita

A research project by The Brookings Institution illustrates the poor performance of the Wichita-area economy. Metro Monitor from The Brookings Institution rates metropolitan areas on a number of indicators. On the map of metropolitan areas, blue means faster growth, and orange means slowest. You can see that Wichita has the economic growth of a typical rust belt city. (Click charts for larger versions.) The table showing changes in indicators over the past decade shows Wichita almost always below the middle. The charts of trends over time shows Wichita falling behind the nation, then catching up in 2007 and 2008, but…
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In Wichita, open records relief may be on the way

In Wichita, open records relief may be on the way

A new law in Kansas may provide opportunities for better enforcement of the Kansas Open Records Act. This year the Kansas Legislature passed HB 2256, captioned as "An act concerning public bodies or agencies; relating to the state of Kansas and local units of government; providing certain powers to the attorney general for investigation of violations of the open records act and the open meetings act; attorney general’s open government fund ..." The good part of this law is that it provides additional enforcement options when citizens feel that government agencies are not complying with the Kansas Open Records Law.…
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