Airport project to help KC economy outperform US, economist projects

Economic growth in the Kansas City area will outpace growth nationally in the next few years as the city’s new airport project brings new dollars into the regional economy, according to a forecast from economist Frank Lenk.

Lenk, director of research for the Mid-America Regional Council, said both the Kansas City and national economies will grow 2.9 percent this year. Kansas City’s economy will grow 2.4 percent in 2019, compared to 2.1 percent national growth, he said. In 2020, he projects those growth figures will be 2.1 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

He expects Kansas City’s economy to gain 17,300 new jobs this year; 21,700 in 2019; and 16,600 in 2020.

Lenk delivered his annual economic projections Friday at a Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce event.

His forecast accounts for hits to the Kansas City economy, like Harley Davidson shutting down its local plant and Sprint potentially being acquired by T-Mobile. It also factors in potential boosts, including expansions by Cerner, Garmin and Burns & McDonnell.

But the airport project will be a unique economic engine, Lenk said. Construction of the new $1.4 billion terminal at Kansas City International Airport will mean construction jobs for the area, he said, and spending by those workers will stimulate other parts of the local economy.

Read more: Kansas City Star

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