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Slow Job Growth Pattern In Wichita Area Expected To Continue In 2018

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The employment forecast for the Wichita area shows little to no job growth in 2018.

Wichita State University's Center for Economic Development and Business Research (CEDBR) released its annual industry-level employment forecasts on Thursday.

The fastest growing portion of the Wichita area economy is expected to be in the service sector, particularly in the health care industry.

CEDBR Director Jeremy Hill says the aging population in the region is expected to drive a two percent increase in health care jobs. He says the overall Wichita economy will grow by just 0.4 percent next year.

"And that growth rate, put it into some context, is about where we’ve been the last couple of years if you take out some fluctuations," he says. "We’re really settling into this slow growth pattern here in the Wichita area."

Hill says the aerospace industry has also slowed the economy in the state and Wichita area in recent years.

"Now, the rest of the state also influences Wichita, so when you look at agriculture and oil and some of the management that’s even in this region, those are at their trough now, the very bottom, and not really expected to grow that much over the next year," Hill says. "So those two are influencing the Wichita economy."

The natural resources and construction sector is projected to add about 300 jobs, while the durable goods manufacturing sector is projected to decline by about the same amount.

The employment forecast also shows a decline in trade, transportation and utilities as well as local government.

The service sectors are forecasted to rise 1.3 percent, with education and health care sectors leading the growth. In addition, jobs in the leisure and hospitality sectors are projected to have employment increases greater than one percent.

Hill says Kansas is projected to increase employment by 0.1 percent in 2018. He says the tight labor market and slow population growth statewide are two factors in the state’s overall stagnant employment forecast.



Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar

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