GARDEN CITY, Kansas — Kansas is one of the top ten states with the lowest unemployment. The National unemployment rate is 6.7% and Kansas is at 4.8%. The Western counties bring the state average down and Garden City is one town that has had a low unemployment rate for years.
“Garden City has a lot of jobs to offer,” said Cassie Gonzalez, Manager at Patrick Dugan’s Coffee House, “It’s growing, constantly growing.”
“We never really had a recession, we stayed pretty strong,” said Finney County Economic Development Corporation President Lona DuVall. “So, we don’t really have problems with unemployment, in fact we’re always looking for people to move to Garden City.”
Some of the small city’s largest employers are packing plants, drilling companies, and the schools and hospital. The boom in growth goes back to when Tyson Meats and Sunflower Electric came to town in the 80s.
As those big companies continue to bring in more employees, the downtown can continue to thrive with coffee shops, retail stores, and restaurants having more and more people to serve.
“Call it trickle-down economics, call it whatever you’d like, but it builds everything,” said DuVall. “So, it’s important that as we build one sector we’re continuously working on the others.”
For big companies a location in the middle of the country is perfect for shipping out products.
With small businesses locals 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%. The lowest rate in Kansas is Greeley County at 2.2%.
DuVall said 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,” she said.
The state went from 5.6% last year to this year’s 4.8%. Sedgwick County also dropped almost a percentage point from 7.2 to 6.3%. The counties with the highest unemployment, Linn and Wyandotte counties in Eastern Kansas, are still down from a year ago.