TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas was ranked 42nd in average weekly wage in the U.S. by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This has decreased over the past decade from 21st, which is known as the “lost decade.” Secretary of Commerce David Toland said the wages have increased in Kansas, but at a much slower rate than other states.

“If you have stronger wages and benefit packages that benefits Kansas families,” Toland said. “And make sure that we continue to have a high quality of life in our state and help attract other companies as well.”

Although there is no definitive answer to increasing the average wages, Toland is hopeful improving the state’s economy could be reflected in the wages.

The state’s plan to pursue this is by focusing on both rural and metropolitan areas, and the strengths in which they possess, including advanced manufacturing, agriculture, distribution and e-commerce.

Toland said most of the state’s employment growth occurs from existing companies in the state, so they plan to primarily focus on preexisting companies.

However, the Department of Commerce has also rebuilt their Domestic Recruitment team, who travel to five regions in the country and encourage companies to do business with Kansas.

Gov. Laura Kelly also reestablished the International Division, which works to attract international companies to do business with farmers and other trade companies.

Tolman also believes the recently signed USMCA Trade Agreement and U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement will help farmers in Kansas, especially beef producers, to help the state’s economy as a whole.