A slide presentation is available with additional employment and unemployment data for Kansas and its four metro areas.
From November to December 2017 the Current Conditions Index increased by 0.3. The Current Conditions Index increased year-to-year by 1.4 percent from December 2016 to December 2017. In addition, the Leading Index is forecasting a 1.23 percent increase in economic activity over the next six months.
The 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 December 2017 data shows the Midwest inflation rate decreased slightly from November to December for urban metro areas. The smaller non-metropolitan areas noticed a 0.20 percent increase.
The Producer Price Index data shows that prices in the United States have increased from December 2016 to December 2017 for aircraft (0.9 percent), slaughter livestock (7.5 percent), crude petroleum (14.5 percent), wheat (12.6 percent) and sorghum (13.6 percent). During that same time period, the index decreased for natural gas (-9.8 percent).
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.
In 2018, Kansas total nonfarm employment is projected to increase by 0.1 percent, adding approximately 2,000 jobs, with a range of expected growth between negative 0.2 percent and positive 0.5 percent.
CEDBR Director Jeremy Hill comments: "If Kansas employment growth was running a marathon, the state would be toward the back of the pack, as compared to other states. Sometimes in a marathon a successful race is not to gain a trophy; rather to simply make it across the finish line. Over the last couple of years, the state economy has diverted from what is going on nationally, as core sectors within Kansas remain weak. The state economy is expected to see continued slow-predictable growth in 2018."
Wichita total nonfarm employment is forecast to increase by 1,496 jobs, growing 0.5 percent, with an expected growth range between 0.3 percent and 0.8 percent.
CEDBR Director Jeremy Hill comments: "Employment numbers in Wichita were revised up slightly from the fall forecast. Increased growth is not attributed to any one sector, rather a byproduct of revisions in the data. Optimism abounds within the region. Although employment, output and wages are growing slower than expected, the community's "fans" may help the home team pull off some additional wins in 2018, more than what otherwise might be expected."
Retail 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.
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.
Between the second and third quarters of 2017, the general level of misery experienced by people in the United States and Kansas increased, but remained below the 2016 level, reversing the improvements of the second quarter. This can be attributed to increases in the unemployment rate and inflation.
Among the metropolitan areas in the state, Wichita and Kansas City both have levels of misery above the state level. The level of misery in Wichita is above the national level, all other 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 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.