Topeka Employment Forecast
Released May 9, 2019 (See previous version.)
The Topeka metropolitan area’s* total nonfarm employment grew by 0.3 percent in 2018, adding 300 new workers to the local economy. From 2012 to 2016, the Topeka area grew by an average of 0.8 percent annually, followed by a decline of 0.7 percent in 2017. In 2018, the unemployment rate for Topeka declined to 3.4 percent, its lowest level since 1999.
For 2019, Topeka employment is projected to grow 0.6 percent and add more than 600 new workers, with growth largely concentrated in the service sector.
- The production sectors are expected to grow 0.2 percent, adding fewer than 100 jobs to the Topeka economy. The manufacturing sector is forecast to lead growth with more than 100 jobs added, while being largely offset by approximately 100 job losses in the construction sector. The manufacturing sector has been one of Topeka’s fastest growing sectors, with 500 jobs added in 2017 and 2018.
- Trade, transportation, and utilities sector employment is projected to remain approximately flat in 2019. Since 2009, the sector has declined in employment by 1,100 jobs, largely concentrated in the transportation and wholesale trade sectors. Taxable retail sales are projected to decline 2 percent on an inflation adjusted basis in 2019; taxable retail sales declined 2.6 and 1.9 percent, respectively in 2017 and 2018.
- The service sector is forecast to lead growth in the Topeka area, growing 1.1 percent and adding almost 600 jobs. Growth is projected to be primarily focused in the education and health services sector, which added 300 jobs in 2018 and is expected to add more than 400 in 2019. Overall, Topeka’s service sector returned to growth in 2018 after declining by approximately 200 jobs in 2017. • Government employment is projected to grow 0.3 percent, adding fewer than 100 jobs in 2019. Federal, state and local government are each projected to grow modestly in 2019. If they do, it would mark the first year for all three governmental sectors to increase together in the Topeka area since 2010.
*The Topeka metropolitan area consists of Jackson, Jefferson, Osage, Shawnee, and Wabaunsee counties in Kansas.
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