jobs

Steve Depolo / flickr Creative Commons

An updated employment forecast from Wichita State University shows the local economy improving slightly more than expected in 2021.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

In mid-March, millions of American workers were suddenly told to work from home. At first, many of us welcomed what we thought was a temporary change — no commute and working in pajamas? That’s the dream.

We hunkered down in our homes and made the best of the situation, telecommuting while lounging on our couches or using a coffee table as a makeshift desk.

But five months later, the situation has proved it is far from temporary, and it’s time we make some serious adjustments to our work-from-home setups to ensure we don’t develop chronic injuries over time.

TOPEKA, Kansas — The Kansas Department of Labor has struggled to handle an explosion of unemployment filings.

That’s left 25,000 claims waiting for approval — and thousands of Kansans standing by for the checks that could help them stay afloat through a jobless stretch in an economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andrea Klinke Johannsen / flickr Creative Commons

An employment forecast released Thursday projects continued economic growth for both the Wichita area and Kansas next year.

Wichita State University’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research (CEDBR) conducts industry-level employment surveys each year to help formulate its forecasts.

CEDBR Director Jeremy Hill says the Wichita area is expected to grow about 0.5% in 2020, adding about 1,600 new jobs. The workforce expanded by 1.3% this year.

He says the slow job growth pattern is a turnaround from 2017 when the region lost jobs.

Over the last five years, almost 15,000 workers disappeared from the Kansas workforce.

During the same timeframe, the state is growing economically, with a recent monthly report showing 14,000 jobs created in the last year and unemployment at 3.3%. That’s below the national rate. 

Despite the good news, Kansas officials see a long-term challenge: having enough employees to fill the state’s jobs, especially in high-demand careers like nursing and accounting.

Chris Neal / For the Kansas News Service

Adult education programs offered by Kansas’ colleges and school districts are increasingly bringing classes to workers where they already are: at work.

IAMAW Local Lodge 708

A contractor strike at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita is entering its sixth week.

Seventeen machinists union members who work for FlightSafety Services Corporation walked off the job in mid-February. The workers rejected FlightSafety’s contract offer because the agreement did not include a government designation that determines wages. Last week, union members rejected a "return-to-work" agreement.

KANSAS CITY — Seventy hours a week got old. Fast. So did working multiple jobs.

So Joseph Cowsert wept tears of joy and relief the day he got word while bathing his baby daughter that UPS was offering him a 40-hour-a-week position in web development.

“It was like a burden lifted off of me,” he said. “I didn’t realize it was weighing so heavily.”

Stephan Bisaha / Kansas News Service

A college degree is still your best bet for earning top dollar.

Yet with more Americans graduating from college, having a degree is no longer enough to stand out. To make the most of that degree in an economy filled with college grads, choosing the right degree is that much more important. Here are some tips for finding the right college major.

Fernando Salazar / For the Kansas News Service

Jon Hu stepped away from Wichita State University’s engineering career fair with beads of sweat forming on his face.

Students and the employers who might offer them jobs had crammed into a university ballroom. Most were donned — and overheating — in suits in the crowded room.

“I’ve been wearing this suit for about five hours,” Hu said. “So, yeah. It’s very, very hot in this.”

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