EmploymentThe Cost of Living Index, from The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER), measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. This index includes more than 90,000 prices covering 60 different items collected each quarter. The index measures the relative price levels in participating areas. The average for all participating places equals 100, and each area's index is a percentage of the average for all areas.

One of the index components measures the relative price of utilities between areas. The majority of the areas included in the index, 53 percent, had utility prices below the national average in 2017. The three Kansas metropolitan areas included in the index averaged 15.5 percent below the national average when weighted by population, Wichita was the only Kansas metropolitan area above the national average.

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Misery Index Increased Across Kansas in 2018Q3

Misery Index in KansasBetween the second and third quarters of 2018, the general level of misery experienced by people in the United States and Kansas increased, but remained below the 2017 level. This can be attributed to increases in unemployment.

Among the metropolitan areas in the state, Wichita and Topeka both have levels of misery above the state level. All areas in Kansas are below the national level

The Misery Index, as calculated by the Center for Economic Development and Business Research (CEDBR), includes the following components:

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • The House Price Index (HPI) from the Federal Housing Finance Agency
  • Unemployment Rates (UR) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Read the complete report.

Unemployment Rate Declined in April 2018

EmploymentThe unemployment rate for Kansas, as a whole, decreased from March 2018 to April. The Wichita, Topeka, Manhattan and Lawrence MSAs also saw an unemployment rate decrease.

A slide presentation is available with additional employment and unemployment data for Kansas and its four metro areas.

View the April slide presentation.

Manufacturing Employment

InflationOverall Kansas manufacturing employment has declined in recent years, most recently decreasing by 900 jobs in the 2016 year and 1,600 jobs for 2017. The highest level for manufacturing jobs over the past decade was in 2008 which was 185,300, which was also a 700 job increase from the 184,700 jobs in 2007

Since 2014 there has been a decrease of manufacturing jobs each year, leading to 158,800 jobs for 2017.

Read the Full Industry Analysis


Unemployment Rates Declined from November to December 2017

EmploymentThe unemployment rate for Kansas, as a whole, decreased from November 2017 to December 2017. The Wichita, Topeka, Manhattan and Lawrence MSAs also saw an unemployment rate decrease.

A slide presentation is available with additional employment and unemployment data for Kansas and its four metro areas.

View the December slide presentation.

Employment-Population Ratio Peer Cities, Updated 2016 Data

Click to enlarge.The employment-population ratio is a measure of labor market strength; it is calculated by dividing the number of employed workers in an area by the total civilian non-institutionalized population aged 16 and over in that region. This is often used alongside the unemployment rate in determining the strength of the labor market.

  • All five counties experienced a decline in their employment-population ratios in both the 2001 and 2008 recessions. In the 2001 recession, Kent County, Michigan, experienced the largest drop in its employment-population ratio, while in the 2008 recession, Summit County, Ohio, had the largest drop in the employment-population ratio. The average decline in the employment-population ratio among these counties due to the 2008 recession was roughly seven percentage points.

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Updated Kansas Services & Retail Gap Analysis

Retail and Services KansasRetail sales and professional and business services are an important part of the local economies of every county throughout Kansas. CEDBR has updated its service and retail gap analysis for every county in Kansas, comparing the retail sales and employment, as well as sales and employment of the professional, scientific, technical, and other services sectors in each county to their peer counties in Kansas.

Read the Services Analysis Summary.

Read the Retail Analysis Summary.

Stock Market Forecast Results

The contestants in CEDBR’s S&P 500 Prediction Challenge each gave a prediction for the value of the S&P 500 stock market index on August 31st, 2018.  As of November 5th, the closing date for entries into the Challenge, the S&P 500 index was valued at 2,587.  The median prediction among the contestants for the S&P 500 Index is 2,663.58 points.  On average, contestants predicted that the S&P 500 will increase by 3 percent over the next ten months, after the index increased by 14.6 percent this year to date.

Approximately 60 percent of the contestants predicted that the stock market would increase in 2018 over its November 2017 value.  Many of their predictions were more bullish than major analysts forecast for 2018.  Recently, analysts at Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup forecast the S&P 500 to reach 2,500 points, 2,600 points, and 2,675 points, respectively, in 2018. The Federal Reserve Board has forecast continued economic growth in 2018, with modest inflationary expectations and a half point increase in the Federal Funds rate projected.

See results at www.KansasEconomy.org

Kansas Population Forecast: U.S. Comparison

The U.S. Census Bureau has published their population projections for the entire United States from 2015 to 2060 , and they project that the United States population will grow from 321.4 million to 416.8 million in that period. This represents 29.6 percent growth for the U.S. population, which is projected to expand more rapidly than the Kansas population.

Both the Kansas and the U.S. populations are projected to have positive growth rates throughout this period, with growth generally slowing over much of this period as well.

Read the complete article.

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