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WSU employment forecasts still positive in January update

The Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita State University still sees Kansas employment growing in its 2019 Updated Employment Forecast released Tuesday.

Our updated revision from our fall forecast only changed slightly from 1 percent to 1.1 percent, which is good news,” said Jeremy Hill, Director at the Center. “We’ve had somewhat of a slowing economy the previous years. We’re holding to a positive expectation for the Kansas economy. There’s some strength within the Kansas economy. A lot of it’s coming from manufacturing producing more because of the U.S. consumer and a global economy.”

Wichita is estimated to add approximately 2,500 jobs in 2018, and growth is projected to increase modestly to 0.9 percent in 2019, with more than 2,700 new jobs added.

“It’s not as positive as the state economy, but still a positive growth and stronger than it has been the last couple of years,” said Hill. “Spirit has been making more investments lately. Demand is still behind that commercial aerospace, which is driving this regional economy. As long as we are able to find that matching labor, and I really believe that the labor market has some flexibility for people to re-enter and to attract, I think that is a reality that will continue to grow this
economy for the next year.”

Topeka, which has tended to lag behind the rest of the state, is also slated to grow in 2019.

“We do have a positive expectation for the Topeka market,” said Hill. “Given the changes in leadership and policies, that will likely come to fruition. Our growth expectation is much smaller at only 0.3 percent growth for Topeka. That is still a positive news, compared to some of the decline it has had in the past.”

Hill does see the potential for a recession on the horizon, potentially as early as 2020 and he cautions that the Topeka area in particular seems to follow the broader national economy, so growth there could slow if the national trends turn south.


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