Kansas government employed an average of 255,700 people in 2017, a decrease of 500 jobs from the 2016 average. This continues the trend of declining government employment since its last peak in 2010 with just over 262,000 jobs.
The majority of government jobs in Kansas were at the local level with approximately 179,000, just over two-thirds of total government employment. The rest of government jobs were at the federal level with 21,000, and the state level with just over 51,000. State level jobs have declined since 2010, while federal level jobs were fairly constant the past few years. Overall local government jobs remained fairly constant at around 180,000.
The information sector includes media publishers, radio and television broadcasters, telecommunications carriers, and other information-related businesses. Employment in this sector has been declining in Kansas since it peaked in 2001 with 50,000 employees.
Telecommunications which is the largest subsector has declined from a peak of 30,000 worker in Kansas to 8,500 workers by the end of 2016. The non internet publishing sector also declined from a 12,000 workers in 2001 to only 5,000 in June 2017. Interent publishing is however a bright spot in the information sector with growth from 100 workers in 2007 to almost 800 workers in 2016, a growth rate twice the national average.
The motion picture and sound recording industry, which consists mostly of movie theaters, remained stable with roughly the same number of employees in 2016 as in 2005. Non-internet broadcasting also declined roughly 40 percent from 2001 to 2016.
Overall Kansas manufacturing employment has declined in recent years, most recently decreasing by 900 jobs in the 2016 year and 1,600 jobs for 2017. The highest level for manufacturing jobs over the past decade was in 2008 which was 185,300, which was also a 700 job increase from the 184,700 jobs in 2007
Since 2014 there has been a decrease of manufacturing jobs each year, leading to 158,800 jobs for 2017.
The composition of Kansas wholesale jobs can be divided into eight main categories, with seven being for specific subsectors and the eighth is a consolidation of all other subsectors. The two largest of these for 2016 wholesale were machinery and supply and markets, agents, and brokers. These two categories each employed 17 percent of total wholesale jobs in Kansas for 2016
The next two largest categories were farm-raw materials wholesale with 10 percent, grocery and related product wholesale with 9 percent. The last three categories were miscellaneous non-durable goods, machinery and supply, and motor vehicle and parts; each with six percent of total statewide wholesale jobs.
The latest recession, which began in December 2007, did not significantly impact the Kansas construction industry until 2009, when employment declined to an annual average of 58,104 from an annual average of 65,818 in 2007. The recovery in Kansas construction employment has been similarly delayed to 2012. Since that year, construction employment in Kansas has been increasing every year. In 2015, Kansas employment in the industry was 61,005. A significant share of the construction workforce works in the specialty trade contractors sector. This sector experienced a decline in employment from 2008. Employment kept declining reaching a peak in 2011 (33,581) until 2012 when the section started to recover.
As of March 2016, Oklahoma-based SandRidge Energy and Texas-based Linn Energy warned of possible bankruptcy filings. These two companies are large oil and gas producers in Kansas. In fact, in 2014, SandRidge ranked as the premier oil producer and the second largest natural gas producer in Kansas —Harper and Sumner counties were the company’s main Kansas operation sites. Similarly, Linn, which concentrates its Kansas operations in the Southeast region, was the premier natural gas producer. In 2015, revenue and profits for these two companies, and other oil and gas producers operating in Kansas, were affected by the decline in oil and gas prices.
Contractors in the Wichita area have experienced an increased demand as a result of higher health projects in the health care industry. According to Mike Grier, president and CEO of Eby Construction, advanced technologies and improved services for patients explain the resurgence of health care-related construction work in recent years. These projects usually involve construction of new clinics, care campuses or specialty care facilities, and renovation of existing facilities. For example, Eby Construction has participated in Via Christi Health’s renovation projects.
The second phase of Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus project started in April 2016 and is programmed to be completed during fall 2016. Construction plans involve building two new streets, sidewalks, and a pedestrian mall. The second phase also includes the installation of landscaping and fiber optic cable. In 2015, Sedgwick County Public Building Commission issued a $45 million bond to finance the new infrastructure.
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