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Report: Kansas Sees Five Percent Growth In Businesses

Chris Murphy, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas secretary of state's office issued a report today on the status of business growth in the state. There were signs of growth--and signs of decline.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office noted that a record of nearly 17,300 businesses formed in Kansas last year. His office reported that Kansas had about 179,000 businesses at the end of 2015, roughly 8,600 more than at the end of 2014.

Those new ventures helped fuel the state’s overall business growth in 2015, which was up 5 percent.

Jeremy Hill, director of the Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita State University, says the numbers show improvement, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a net increase in new jobs.

"We have to keep in mind that some of these establishments are not going to be really creating a lot of economic value," he says. "It just gives them access to more contracts, more business themselves so they might have a business license here just to function."

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has pointed to annual records for new business formations each year since 2011 as a sign that his tax-cutting policies are boosting the economy.

The secretary of state's report also showed that a growing number of businesses also dissolved, withdrew or forfeited their right to remain active in Kansas.

Hill says that loss is actually a good sign because it matches the growth, and the two factors combined show the state’s business environment is moving in the right direction.

Hill says he doesn’t have access to the state’s business establishment data, but says when he looks at other sources, the business growth in Kansas is not keeping up with surrounding states. He says both Oklahoma and Nebraska have grown faster than Kansas over the past few years.

You can view the full report here:


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

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