Kansas employment growth is anticipated to reach 1.8 percent in 2015, according to a recent study by Wichita State University.
According to the 2015 Kansas Employment Forecast, nationally, real GDP grew at a rate of 3.9 percent in the third quarter of 2014, following a 4.6 percent growth in the second quarter. Employment increased by 1.5 percent nationally in the last twelve months, while Kansas employment increased by 1 percent.
"In 2013 we had 19,081 employed in Ford County and 19,621 in 2014, so we grew 540 more jobs," Joann Knight, executive director of Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation said. "That's up from 16,923 jobs in Ford County in 2008. In 2015, I think we're going to have about the same job growth rate as last year."
According to the report, total non-agricultural employment is expected to increase by 24,691 jobs in Kansas. The production sectors are projected to grow 1.8 percent in Kansas, adding 4,088 jobs. The majority of this growth will be in the natural resources and mining sector, with almost 3,000 jobs added. The remaining growth will be evenly split between durable and non-durable manufacturing, each adding almost 600 jobs.
In the report, the trade, transportation and utilities sector is projected to add 2,785 jobs, for 1.1 percent growth. The retail trade sector and transportation and utilities sector are expected to lead this growth, each adding over 1,000 jobs with over 2 percent growth, while the wholesale trade sectors growth lags behind, with 0.4 percent growth adding 240 new jobs.
The service sectors are anticipated to be the largest growth sectors in 2015, adding 17,614 new jobs while growing 2.8 percent, according to the report. The largest component of this growth is expected to be the professional and business services sector, which is forecast to add 6,203 new jobs with 3.7 percent growth. The education and health services sector will also be experiencing significant growth, adding 5,376 new jobs and a 2.8 percent growth rate. The other services sector is anticipated to grow 3.5 percent as well.
According to the report, the government sector is projected to grow 0.1 percent, adding 204 jobs in 2015. The federal and state government sectors are forecast to decline in employment, while the local government sector is anticipated to add more than 800 jobs statewide.
"Dodge City has an economic strength rating of 21st in the nation from the Policom report," Knight said. "Most of the cities ranking above 20 were communities with a 50,000 population clustered with other 50,000 plus population cities. A few were due to the oil boom in the Dakotas. The strongest sectors in Dodge City are construction, manufacturing and agricultural jobs. We have a very strong professional service sector."
The Policom Corporation measures cities as Metropolitan Statistical Areas with an urbanized area (city) with a population of at least 10,000 but fewer than 50,000.
Out of 536 Micropolitan areas, Dodge City is ranked 21st in the nation, making Dodge City the highest ranked Micropolitan city in the Kansas.
According to the Kansas Department of Labor, from May 2008 to May 2013 Ford County job growth increased 6.9 percent.
"We're hoping that trend will continue," Knight said. "The casino created the most jobs in that time period, 300 jobs. Most of the jobs are coming from windfarms, professional services and primary manufacturing."