Wichita State News

PODCAST: State economic forecast remains mostly cloudy

Friday, January 08, 2010

This WSU Newsline Podcast is available at http://www.wichita.edu/newslinepodcast. See the transcript below:

You’re listening to the podcast edition of the Wichita State University audio newsline. Learn more about WSU — the home of Thinkers, Doers, Movers and Shockers — on the Web at wichita.edu.

Jeremy Hill
Jeremy Hill
The economic news in Kansas, like most states, has mostly been bad in recent years. Jeremy Hill, director of the Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita State University, says the production sector has especially been hard hit in Kansas.

Hill: "The state economy has had an expansionary period since 2003. Going into 2009, we've had our biggest contraction, about 3.2 percent, which is filtered all through the economy, especially the production sector, which is really pulling us down."

"The hardest hit sector at the state level was the production sector, specifically manufacturing. That comes actually back to Wichita for the aviation industry, where we lost just over 12,000 jobs."

However, Hill says that not all areas of the economy have fared as poorly.

Hill: "At the state level, the service sector only went down slightly. In Wichita, it was a little bit stronger, and it actually improved. The real reason why it improved down in Wichita and it stayed strong at the state level is health and education. People are coming back to get more degrees to retool themselves."

"In 2009, our current economic index, which is an overall thermometer of the overall health of the economy, was at the lowest it's been since 1994. The things that have been driving it up, however, was home sales and outbound passengers, not only here in Wichita, but we also saw outbound passengers increase recently at the Kansas City airport."

Although the economic news in Kansas has mostly been bad in recent years, there finally appear to be some encouraging signs, according to Hill.

Hill: "Our leading indicator has a couple of real positive signs. We have initial unemployment claims going down. We have the value of new parts for aviation starting to come up, and we're also seeing aviation stock coming up, which all show some positive signs going into 2010."

And Hill says the unemployment situation in Wichita may finally be stabilizing.

Hill: "The Wichita economy, the ground is starting to firm up of unemployment. We've only had a .5 percent decline in total nonfarm. Most of that loss is going to be in production, but we'll see the service sector, again in education and health, really strengthening their economy."

As far as the state's economy goes, Hill says:

Hill: "The state economy is mirroring a little bit of Wichita as only a negative .5 percent decline in employment. Production is going to have less of a decline, and the service sector is going to pick up; not as strong as the Wichita area."

Whether the glass is half empty or half full depends on your perspective, but there's no doubt the economy has a long way to go.

Thanks for listening. Until next time, this is Joe Kleinsasser for Wichita State University.

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Created on Friday, January 08, 2010; Last modified on Monday, January 11, 2010