by Charles Krider,
Norman Clifford, and Fernando
Conde, Institute for Public Policy and Business Research, University of Kansas.
Because population size and economic activity are closely
related, and changes in population size are directly linked to employment
opportunities, wage differentials, and a community’s overall quality of
life, the Institute for Public Policy and Business Research recently
conducted a review of essential economic and demographic trends for
Kansas, examining Kansas population, population projections, employment,
employment projections, earnings, and income. For the purpose of the
report, the Institute divided Kansas counties into three categories: nine
large metropolitan counties, 18 medium counties with a population greater
than 20,000, and 78 small counties with a population of less than 20,000.
The Institute found that overall the large metropolitan counties fared
much better in population, earnings, and income than the rest of the
state, and that the small counties have lost population, experienced slow
employment growth, and have the lowest average wage per job.
The Structure of the Custom Cattle Feeding Industry: a Strategic
Analysis with Implications for Kansas Agribusiness
by Jeffrey P. Katz, Department of Management, Kansas State University, Jason W. Maddox, Koch
Industries, Inc., and Michael Boland, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University.
Agriculture is the largest segment of the U.S. economy and beef
production is the largest segment of the U.S. agricultural economy. Beef
is particularly important to the Kansas economy because Kansas is the
second largest cattle state in the U.S., with over $4.5 billion in cash
receipts and 38,000 cattle-related businesses. The hard times currently
being experienced by beef producers as a result of record feed prices and
decreasing cattle prices helps focus attention on the need to assess the
impact of external factors inherent in the structure of this key Kansas
In the short term, the main concern of the successful custom cattle
feeder is being the low-cost provider of quality service. The most crucial
factor driving the efficiency is feed conversion, which is a component of
the genetic makeup of cattle, the processing of feed at the mill, health
treatment programs and weather. All of these factors lead to an efficient
"cost of gain" for the customer and profitability for the feed yard owner.
In the long term, being efficient is not going to be enough. In
order to compete with the poultry and pork industry, beef production must
become more efficient, allowing for a cheaper beef product to be put on
the shelves than is currently the case. Much of the decline in per capita
consumption of beef has come from the ability of the poultry industry to
produce an efficient, satisfactory product at a reasonable price. Beef
must do likewise if it is to regain consumer favor. This will entail
cooperation throughout the beef production process.
Temporary Suspension of Unemployment Insurance Tax
by William H. Layes, Chief, Labor Market Information Services, Kansas Department of
Unemployment insurance taxes, or contributions, often represent a
sizeable cost of doing business in any state. Naturally, most employers
are eager to reduce tax rates through improved experience with
unemployment. How is it possible to reduce employer taxes to zero,
continue a zero tax on future unemployment insurance taxes, and yet
continue to pay benefits? This article discusses these issues and comments
on the future of the unemployment insurance moratorium in Kansas.
Without question the moratorium has had a positive effect on the
Kansas business climate. It has allowed employer retention of significant
amounts for other business uses and provided employers with the
opportunity to increase employee fringe benefits which otherwise would
have been impossible. It could be argued that providing additional
employee benefits is especially important due to the current labor
shortages which Kansas and most other states are currently experiencing.
In fact, it may provide some competitive advantage with employer
recruitment efforts. The ability of firms to increase employee benefits
due to the moratorium could be viewed as an unofficial business
Location Quotients of Economic Activity for Kansas Counties
by Pooran Lall, Department of Agriculture, Central Missouri State University,
and David Darling, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University.
The development plan for the state of Kansas explicitly outlines
the development goals for the state. Based on this plan, the state of
Kansas seeks to further develop the state’s strengths and correct its
weaknesses. In particular, this plan seeks to support community planning
and action programs that increase local and regional development capacity,
coordinate business activities, enhance exports and, in general,
strengthen and diversify the economic base of communities.
One method of measuring and tracking economic change is through the
use of location quotients. A location quotient is an index which tells (1)
the degree of self-sufficiency of a community in a particular industry,
and (2) how important the industry is to the community’s economy. Location
quotients also provide businesses, or potential businesses, with
information which will help them identify potentially profitable
This study determines location quotients based on one-digit SIC codes for each
county in Kansas and provides information on industrial activity that will aid
those conducting community and economic development programs.
The Outlook for Kansas and the Nation: 1998 Update
by Norman Clifford, Institute for
Public Policy and Business Research, University of Kansas.
The national economy is expected to have another strong growth year
in 1998, but a closer look at the data suggests that national economic
growth is slowing, due to a decline in real exports and much slower growth
in consumer spending. The slowdown in growth of the national economy will
be seen in unemployment rates, which will begin increasing at the end of
The Kansas economy should complete another strong year in 1998, but
some of the strength of the last three years will dissipate in 1999.