e-Connection is a monthly newsletter that contains employment forecasts, indexes, and other research from CEDBR.

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Center for Economic Development and Business Research
W. Frank Barton School of Business

1845 Fairmount, Devlin Hall
Wichita, KS 67260-0121
Phone: (316) 978-3225 
Fax: (316) 978-3950
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2015 Wichita Economic Outlook, January Revision


January 05, 2015

In 2015, Wichita total nonfarm employment is expected to increase by 4,228 jobs, which implies the employment growth rate is anticipated to be 1.5 percent.

The service (2,686) and production (700) sectors are expected to lead the growth in Wichita in 2015, with growth rates of 2 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. The trade, transportation, and utilities sector is projected to add 710 jobs and the government sector is expected to add approximately 100 new jobs, growing at 0.3 percent.

Read the full 2015 Wichita Employment Forecast.


2015 Kansas Economic Outlook, January Revision

January 05, 2015

In 2015, Kansas total nonfarm employment is expected to increase by 24,691 jobs, which implies the employment growth rate is anticipated to be 1.8 percent.

Both the service (17,614 jobs) and production (4,088 jobs) sectors are expected to lead the growth in the state in 2015, with growth rates of 2.8 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.  The trade, transportation, and utilities sector is projected to add 2,785 jobs, for 1.1 percent growth.  Whereas, the government sector is project to grow by only 0.1 percent, adding only 204 jobs in 2015.

Read the full 2015 Kansas Employment Forecast.



High-Level Skills in the Wichita Workforce

Skills and Knowledge Areas

The Center for Economic Development and Business Research (CEDBR), with funding from the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, recently conducted a study to estimate the skill level of the employed workforce in the Wichita metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and other MSAs. Data on the occupations of the employed Wichita MSA workforce were matched to the skill and knowledge levels required to adequately perform each occupation.  

The skill category “Service Orientation” had the highest number of Wichita workers in the top national quartile. In addition, Wichita workers ranked highly in the negotiation, persuasion and coordination skills. Among the knowledge categories, the Wichita workforce had the most workers in the top national quartile of the “Food Production” knowledge category.

Read more.

Average Cost of Groceries in Wichita Four Percent Below National Average

Cost of Groceries in WichitaThe Council for Community and Economic Research released the annual average Cost of Living Index for 281 urban areas for 2014. Wichita’s overall Index value was almost 9 percent below the national average of 100. The most expensive urban area in which to live was New York (Manhattan), N.Y., with an Index value more than twice that of the national average. The least expensive urban area was Harlingen, Texas, which was nearly 19 percent below the national average.

Read more.

To subscribe to the Cost of Living Index report, or to learn more about The Council for Community and Economic Research, visit their website.

Employment-Population Ratio in Wichita Compared with Peer Cities

Peer Cities Employment-Population RatioWichita and similar cities have seen large changes, mostly declines, in their employment-population ratio over the last decade. Many have been more strongly affected by the 2008 recession than the rest of the United States. 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 noninstitutionalized population aged 16 and over in that region. Typically, the employment-population ratio will increase during expansionary periods and decline during recessionary periods.

Read more.

Current Index Deteriorated Slightly Between November and December

Decrease in Current Conditions Index and Leading Index

From November to December, both the WSU Current Conditions Index and the Leading Index decreased, 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. The change from December 2013 to December 2014 in the Current Conditions Index shows a decrease of 0.6 percent and the Leading Index shows a decrease of 0.2 percent. In addition, the Leading Index is forecasting a 0.66 percent increase in economic activity over the next six months. 

Read a further analysis of the monthly Index activity.

Access Index data.


Despite Slight Increases, Kansas Unemployment Rate Still Lower Than Previous Year

Employment Situation in KansasThe unemployment rate for Kansas, as a whole, increased 0.1 percentage point from November to December. The Kansas MSAs experienced increases, also, with a 0.1 percentage point increase in both the Wichita MSA and Manhattan, to 0.2 percentage point in the Topeka MSA. The Lawrence MSA experienced no change in its unemployment rate.

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

Learn more.

Inflation Rate Continues to Drop in Midwest

Inflation Rates KansasThe Consumer Price Index is used to calculate inflation, or the change in price of a basket of goods and services, as it impacts consumers; whereas, the Producer Price Index measures changes in selling prices, thereby expressing price changes from the perspective of the seller who produces a particular commodity.

A slide presentation updated with January 2015 data shows the Midwest inflation rate decreased in both urban metros and non-metro urban areas from December to January.

The Producer Price Index data shows that prices in the United States have increased from January 2014 to January 2015 for aircraft (1.6 percent) and slaughter livestock (8.4 percent). During that same time period, crude petroleum decreased 54.5 percent, natural gas 30.1 percent, sorghum 7.5 percent and wheat decreased 9.3 percent. 

Access this slide presentation.

Learn more about the CPI.

Learn more about the PPI.

2014 Fourth Quarter Wichita Industry News and Developments

Industry DevelopmentsReview major industry announcements by industry sector from 2014 and an overview of statistical trends within each sector for the fourth quarter. Industry news is presented for industries such as mining and construction, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, transportation, information services, and leisure and hospitality, among others.

Access the full report.

Access the industry employment slides.

The Role of Financial Markets in Determining Physical Oil Prices

Oil Prices

What really determines the price of oil? Anthony May, assistant professor of finance at Wichita State University’s W. Frank Barton School of Business, explored this topic with co-authors from the University of Oklahoma and the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The results were published in a paper titled “Factors Influencing Oil Prices: A Survey of the Current State of Knowledge in the Context of the 2007-08 Oil Price Volatility.” The goal of Dr. May’s research was to begin the discussion of how price formation, volatility, hedging, and speculation affect the global price of oil. This research project is an important piece of the oil price puzzle.

Read more.