Employment in Kansas is set to grow by about one percent in 2019, according to new numbers released Thursday by Wichita State University’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research.
“This is actually a pretty good number,” said Director Jeremy Hill. “If you asked me that four years ago, I would have said no, we could have grown much faster than that. The reason why I’m optimistic is because, given the length we had of this expansion, given how tight the labor market is, I think another one percent growth is actually a very solid expectation with positive growth for the overall economy.”
Even though unemployment in the state is low, Hill believes Kansans are willing to work harder.
“I think there are more people who are out there that are willing to come into the labor market,” said Hill. “I think there’s a lot more people who are willing to take a second job or work more hours. Although we’re really technically in a tight labor market, I think we can get a one percent growth this year and I think there’s more growth even the following year, provided the U.S. doesn’t go in a recession.”
In addition to continued growth in professional and business services, Hill sees the potential for expansion in manufacturing.
Non-durables like Frito-Lay and things like that, because of the U.S. consumer and even the durable side,” said Hill. “I think we’ll see more production again where we’re producing hard goods across the state. Not a lot of growth. I just think that’s a good driver for the state economy as we are a manufacturing state.”
Some positive signs for manufacturing going forward include the new jobs at Pfizer in McPherson and the continued growth at Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, just to name two.