Kansas town maintains low unemployment, despite national trends

Kansas town maintains low unemployment, despite national trends

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It's a good economic sign for Kansas. Yes, people still need jobs -- but, a lot of them are finding work especially in western Kansas.

Opportunity -- That's what people say Garden City has to offer businesses.

"Garden City has a lot of jobs to offer. I mean, it's growing, constantly growing," said coffee house manager Cassie Gonzalez.

"We never really had a recession. We stayed pretty strong. So, we don't really have problems with unemployment. In fact, we're always looking for people to move to Garden City," said Lona Duvall, president of the Finney County Economic Development Corp.

Some of the small city's largest employers are packing plants, drilling companies, schools and the hospital.

The boom in growth goes back to when Tyson Meats and Sunflower Electric arrived town in the 80s.

The big companies continue to bring in more employees, leading to a thriving downtown with coffee shops, retail stores, and restaurants.

"Call it trickle-down economics, call it whatever you'd like, but it builds everything. So, it's important that as we build one sector we're continuously working on the others," said Duvall.

For big companies, a location in the middle of the country is perfect for shipping out products. Small businesses rely on the social aspect of it all, even when money is tight.

"We have a lot of regulars, being a small town, a coffee house is where everyone comes and meets," said Gonzalez.

Without seasonal adjustment, the unemployment rate for Finney County is 3.8 percent. The lowest rate in western Kansas is Greeley County at 2.2 percent.

Duvall says agriculture, industry, and the people are to thank for the strong economy.

"That's what we are in southwest Kansas. We're a hardy bunch and we get the job done."

The state of Kansas went from 5.6 percent unemployment last year, to 4.8 percent this year.

Even the counties that have it the worst, Linn and Wyandotte counties in eastern Kansas, are actually down from a year ago.

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