Wichita State’s annual job predictions say progress is coming, even if it isn’t on pace with national numbers.
“Consumers at home can say hey, the market is improving we don’t have to worry so much about something going on that will derail this growth,” said Jeremy Hill with the Center for Economic Development and Business Research.
Compared to growth nationally, Wichita has lagged behind. In 2014, employment increased by 1.5% across the country, in Kansas it was just 1% but in Wichita, it was only .3 percent. However, officials say 2015 is more optimistic, expecting growth locally will hit 1.5% adding an estimated 4,228 jobs.
It’s good news to city officials.
“We’re watching what other cities are doing and how they’re growing their economies, we’re certainly looking for new opportunities as far as businesses are concerned and job opportunities,” said Wichita mayor, Carl Brewer. “We’re searching for new investments and also we’re working with our existing businesses”
Hill says we won’t be seeing that job growth in manufacturing, but we will see it in professional services.
“You have management of companies think about Freddy’s and companies like that. You also have Koch industries, you also have some even employment agencies, those are the ones that continue to grow and they continue to absorb a lot of our labor market, they’re hiring and hiring and hiring.”
Mayor Brewer says the city is doing what it can to experience growth, especially in light of the failure of the sales tax effort, estimated to bring in millions for job growth, still he is optimistic about what the future will hold.
“We’re holding steady, we’re not skyrocketing as far as our business growth and our economy but we’re holding steady, we’re holding on and we’re making progress and we’re doing some impressive things.”