Maybe not such a lost decade in Kansas
The Kansas City Star
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback likes to call the 10 years before he became governor “the lost decade.” And by some measures Kansas was lagging.
But a report released today by Gallup indicates that, based on a couple of important metrics, Kansas is doing pretty well. And that was true before Brownback’s controversial income tax cuts took effect this year. The survey was conducted in 2012.
The survey calculated the “payroll-to-population” rate and the underemployment rate in the 48 continental states. In both categories, Kansas ranks among states in the most enviable situations.
For the payroll-to-population rate, which is the percentage of the population 18 and older who are employed full time for at least 30 hours a week, Kansas ranked fourth among the 50 states, with a rate of 50 percent. Missouri, with a rate of 44.9 percent, just beat the national average, 44.4 percent.
Gallup describes its underemployment rate as “the percentage of adults in the workforce who are unemployed with the percentage of those working part time but looking for full-time work.” Put another way, it is the “relative size of the workforce that is not working at capacity, but would like to be.”
Kansas came out looking great in this category, with an underemployment rate of just 12.1 percent, far below the national rate of 17.5 percent and the third lowest in the nation, behind only North Dakota and South Dakota. Missouri’s underemployment rate is 15.7 percent, below the national average.
Brownback is taking some extreme measures aimed at bringing businesses and jobs into Kansas. But the Gallup study indicates that the people already there have been quite successful at finding jobs with adequate hours.