Metro Monitor for Wichita, 2019 edition


In a report looking at the economics of the 100 largest metropolitan areas, Wichita often ranks near the bottom.

Each year Brookings Institution creates an index of major metropolitan areas called Metro Monitor. The report, says Brookings, “explores the local realities of America’s economic progress, illuminating how metropolitan economies are performing today and over the past decade.” The report for 2019 is available here.

The report examines the 100 largest metropolitan areas. For 2018, the Wichita MSA ranked as the 89th largest, falling from rank 82 as recently as 2011. 1


To examine growth of a metro, Brookings considered percentage change in jobs, percentage change in gross metropolitan product, and percentage change in jobs at young firms. The nearby charts shows the results. (Some data is not available for all metro areas.)

Click charts for larger versions.


Prosperity looks at percentage changes in productivity, standard of living, and average wage.


Inclusion looks at percentage changes in median earnings, relative poverty, and employment rate.

Racial inclusion

Racial inclusion looks at change in white/people of color median earnings gap, relative poverty gap, and employment rate gap.

Looking forward

As the Brookings analysis ends with 2017, what might we find if the analysis was based on 2018 and 2019 data? Some of the data Brookings uses is not available until after a lengthy delay, such GDP for metropolitan areas. That data, which is an important indicator of a region’s economic health, is not yet available for 2018 for metropolitan areas.

Employment data is available quickly, however. The nearby chart, displaying data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows changes in the number of jobs for Wichita and the nation, displaying the percentage change from the same month of the prior year. 2 It’s easy to see the slump in Wichita in 2017. Since then Wichita has improved, with some months showing greater job growth than the nation. From January 2018 to August 2019, national jobs grew by 2.6 percent, and in the Wichita MSA, by 2.2 percent. 3


  1. Weeks, Bob. Wichita population falls; outmigration continues. Available at
  2. An interactive version of the chart is available at
  3. FRED, from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, is a resource for examining economic data and creating charts and tables. Most of the available data is data gathered from other sources, in this case the Bureau of Labor Statistics. FRED provides a consistent interactive interface to the data, and provides several ways to share the data. Start at


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