According to a report by the Center for Economic Development and Business Research (CEDBR) at Wichita State University, nonfarm jobs in the Wichita metro area are expected to increase by a modest 0.4 percent in 2018, while jobs in Kansas are expected to grow by 0.1 percent. The percentages represent the addition of 1,065 in Wichita, including Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey, and Sumner counties, and 1,500 jobs throughout Kansas.
For Wichita, the predicted job market growth is slightly lower than the city’s average employment growth rate over the last 5 years, which has hovered at 0.8 percent.
Education and Healthcare Take Lead
The education and healthcare sectors are expected to see the fastest growth of the of the Wichita area economy this year, with a 2 percent year-over-year increase. This is followed by the professional and business services sector, as well as the leisure and hospitality sectors, both of which are projected to see, at the minimum, an increase of 1 percent.
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities to Also See Growth
Another bright spot for Wichita is the trade, transportation, and utilities. Although the number of retail jobs in Kansas has declined over the years, there will be growth in wholesale trade, transport, and utilities, with the report estimating the addition of around 600 jobs, or 0.7 percent.
Production and Manufacturing to Remain Flat
Meanwhile, the city’s production and manufacturing sectors are expected to stay flat throughout 2018. Here are the numbers:
- The natural resources and construction sector is predicted to add some 300 jobs
- The durable goods manufacturing sector is expected to decline by the same number of jobs
While Wichita’s manufacturing sector has experienced a slow decline, the value of the Wichita metro area’s exports of have increase, which reflects the paradigm shift in labor. Researchers also predicted that global protectionism in 2018 may affect the manufacturing sector’s downside risk.
Local Government to Contract
Local government, which represents the majority of government jobs in Wichita, is predicted to see a decline in jobs in 2018, contracting by 0.7 percent. According to the forecast, this decline is a side-effect of a lower tax base due to sluggish economic growth.
Aerospace Jobs Holding Back Growth
According to experts, Wichita’s slow job market growth can be partially attributed to the aerospace manufacturing sector, which has stalled due to flat demand and productivity in general aviation. But this may change if aerospace manufacturers in the area receive orders for new business jets, forcing them to hire more employees.
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