Janet Harrah, director of the Center for Economic Development and Business Research, presented her 2008 economic forecast at the 28th Annual Wichita Area Economic Outlook Conference on October 2. Below is a brief summary of that forecast.
Wichita's labor market was harder hit by the 2001 recession than was the national labor market. Wichita's initial recovery following the 2001 recession was also decidedly sluggish. However, since fourth quarter 2005 Wichita's labor market has been substantially outperforming the nation. Employment is on track to increase by 3.5 percent this year for a net gain of 10,400 jobs. In 2008, employment is forecast to increase 2 percent for a net gain of nearly 6,000 jobs.
This year marked full recovery in the Wichita labor market. After four years of employment growth, total employment regained and surpassed pre-recession levels in 2007 by 4,800 jobs. However, the same is not true for all industry sectors. In general the service and trade sectors have regained and surpassed pre-recession levels, while the production sectors still lag their pre-recession levels.
In 2008, the production sectors are expected to increase 2.8 percent for a net gain of 2,350 jobs. The trade and transportation sectors are expected to increase 1.5 percent for a net gain of 750 jobs. The service sectors are expected to increase 1.8 percent for a net gain of 2,375 jobs, while the government sector is expected to increase 1.2 percent for a net gain of 475 jobs.
To read Harrah's forecast in its entirety, click here.
To view her Powerpoint presentation as a pdf, click here.