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Slow Job Growth To Continue In Wichita Area

Employment in the services sector, particularly in hospitality and leisure services, is expected to grow in 2018.

The latest employment forecast from Wichita State University predicts continued slow job growth in the Wichita area for 2018.

The Center for Economic Development and Business Research (CEDBR) updated its fall 2017 forecast on Wednesday. It expects Wichita employment to increase by about 1,200 jobs this year, a growth rate of 0.4 percent. That’s similar to the initial forecast released in October.

Although that’s an improvement over 2017 job performance, when employment fell by 0.9 percent, it’s still below the average growth of 0.8 percent between 2012 and 2016.

“Recent employment data already suggests the Kansas economy is feeling better,” Jeremy Hill, director for CEDBR, said in a statement. “CEDBR expects limited labor supply will dampen growth expectations in 2018.”

The Wichita metro area includes Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey and Sumner counties.

The largest employment growth is expected in the service sectors (0.7 percent), specifically the leisure and hospitality sector (2.2 percent).

The production sectors, which include manufacturing, are forecast to remain flat in 2018.

In Kansas, total employment is projected to grow by 0.6 percent, or about 9,000 jobs. That would be the best performance since 2015, and an improvement from the initial forecast in October 2017 of 0.1 percent growth.

The service sectors are expected to show the most growth (1.2 percent), specifically professional business services, and education and health services.

Tom Shine is the director of news and public affairs. Follow him on Twitter @thomaspshine. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.