WICHITA, Kansas – New numbers from the state show that Kansas is not just lagging the nation in manufacturing jobs, but it’s headed in the opposite direction.
From June of last year to this June, Kansas lost about 1,400 manufacturing jobs. A 0.9 percent decline during the same time period, the nation added 160,000 manufacturing jobs, a 1.3 percent increase.
This follows Governor Brownback’s move to make Kansas more appealing to businesses, giving them more tax breaks, in hopes of eventually creating jobs. So why isn’t it working?
KSN talked a couple of unemployed aviation workers. They say they feel the impact of those numbers every day. They say it’s been tough for them, as they’re trying to get back into aviation manufacturing. One economist says, the reason the aerospace industry isn’t thriving right now is because it’s valued at a high price.
Manufacturing jobs continue to rise across the country, but not in Kansas. WSU Center for Economic Development and Business Research director, Jeremy Hill, says that’s partially because of what we’re making here in Kansas.
“We produce things that are more at the very top end basic commodity that is not going to be directly impacted by the average consumer,” said Hill.
He says that as the national economy has improved, people are buying more, but they’re focused on cheaper products.
“They’re purchasing more consumable goods on a daily basis.”
Hill says for the Kansas economy to improve, the entire global economy must improve first, but Hill says that concern over local politics and policies, could also have an impact on business.
“We have a very negative environment at the state level and locally, and although that’s not going to make a dramatic increase in jobs it is going to hamper some opportunities for companies to come or think about expansion in this state, because they’re uncertain about that environment,” Hill said.
Hill says with global companies putting confidence in the United States for currency, it trickles down and it makes manufacturing jobs too expensive to produce. He says, we shouldn’t expect aviation jobs to go back to normal because of the previous major layoffs.