By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — An economist with the Sandlian Center for Entrepreneurial Government says new statistics from the federal government show that economic growth is not what some would hope it could be in Kansas largest counties.
"It has measured economic output of all 3000 counties in the country," economist Michael Austin said. "While we kind of have an idea of which Kansas counties push the entire state forward, nationally, even Kansas' largest counties rank among the slowest growing counties in the country."
Reno County is one of the relatively slow growing counties.
"When we looked at its economy, which is its gross domestic product, its growth from 2017 to 2018 ranked it in the 37th percentile in the nation," Austin said.
That means nearly two-thirds of counties grew more than Reno County in that year.
Government sector growth in the same period was in the 42nd percentile, as Reno County government actually shrank 0.4% from 2017 to 2018.
"We've never had an economic snapshot at this level, at this county level, ever," Austin said. "The federal government has stated that with this information out, they hope to get updates out every year."
The best county in Kansas for economic growth was Sherman County. It grew 25.4% from 2017 to 2018.