SOURCE: BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank

February 04, 2014 08:02 ET

BMO Economics: Kansas Economy Expected to Be Steady in 2014

LEAWOOD, KS--(Marketwired - Feb 4, 2014) -

  • Job growth remains stable, unemployment rate falling
  • Housing starts are on pace for solid growth
  • Farm sector rebounds from 2012 but environment is still mixed

The Kansas economy grew with the 2013 national average, with agriculture bouncing back from the challenging conditions experienced the year prior. Real GDP growth in the state is expected to stay modest at 2.1 percent this year, according to the bi-annual U.S. State Monitor Report from BMO Economics.

Job growth for Kansas remains steady, although mixed. The participation rate is at its lowest since 1984, while hours worked and wage growth is underperforming the national average. However, in December nonfarm payrolls were up 1.1 percent year-over-year. Also in December unemployment hit its lowest level since late-2008, dropping to 4.9 percent.

"There is work that needs to be done to get back to employment levels that will act as a core building block to a strong economy, but the most recent numbers tell us we're heading in the right direction," said Brad Smith, Regional President, Kansas City, BMO Harris Bank. "The housing market has been a good news story, especially for homeowners. Prices from pre-recession levels until now have fared much better than the national average."

"Home prices are less than 2 percent below peak levels, although comparatively they haven't seen the same impressive gains as some of the harder-hit states," said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets.

Housing starts rose throughout 2012 and early 2013, but have since inched down alongside higher mortgage rates. Kansas recorded 6,140 starts in 2012; while 2013 saw 7,300 annualized units through November.

"Expectations were high in 2013 for a significant recovery in the agriculture sector, looking to rebound from the crippling drought in 2012," added Mr. Kavcic. "While better than the prior year's severe conditions, the environment was still mixed. Exports have levelled off in recent quarters, and higher agriculture shipments were offset by a drop in transportation equipment."

To view a full copy of the report, visit www.bmocm.com/economics

About BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through more than 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Banking products and services are provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. and are subject to bank or credit approval. BMO Harris Bank® is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and CDN $537 billion in assets (as of October 31, 2013).

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