KANSAS CITY -- The Kansas unemployment rate, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, hovers right around 3.4 percent. Governor Jeff Colyer says he can take a lot of credit for the unemployment numbers, though it's two-tenths of a percent lower than a year ago, 3.6 percent.
Gov. Colyer took office this spring and credits the strong economy to strong exports. Agriculture is the top driver of the Kansas export business. The top trade partners for Kansas are Mexico, Japan, and Canada.
"NAFTA is very important to Kansas," he said Saturday morning during an interview at the FOX4 studios. "The Mexican agreement is very important to Kansas farmers, but it's also important to our aviation industry, to our services industry here in Kansas City. They area the real bedrock of our economic growth, and having a resolution so we have a clear path forward is important for the state, and we want to be on the forefront of that."
Gov. Colyer said new business outside of Kansas brings new opportunities into Kansas.
"Just what's happening over on Metcalf Aveneue in the next five years - you're going to see new towers going up," he said. "Those are decisions that are being made today here in Kansas, and those are lifelong, century-changing sorts of opportunities for us, and I'm very excited about those opportunities."
Gov. Colyer said his focus for the rest of his term will be on attracting more businesses by shoring up both Kansas transportation and education.
"We have the fifth largest road system in the United States, and we're right in the exact center of the United States. That's an opportunity for us. That's an opportunity for us to grow the logistics. It's an opportunity for small communities to get their product out, for people to come in."
He continued, "It takes a long time, but I think there are tremendous opportunities. But if we keep working, focusing on growing the economy, on making sure we're prioritizing people, prioritizing our businesses, I think it'll serve us well over the next few years."
He has about five months left in office; he lost his bid for the Republican nomination for Kansas governor last month. He became the state's lieutenant governor in January of 2011, serving with then-Governor Sam Brownback.
Kansas City's unemployment rate, according to the Mid-America Regional Council, is slightly higher than the state of Kansas at 3.5 percent.