Economists are beginning to believe the end of the current unemployment nightmare might be in sight — for Kansas, at least.


Economists are beginning to believe the end of the current unemployment nightmare might be in sight — for Kansas, at least.
According to a report published by IHS Global, a Colorado-based forecasting company, the state can expect to recover from statewide job losses incurred since April 2008, which number more than 90,000, by the end of 2014.
That puts Kansas on track to outpace former manufacturing powerhouses like Michigan and Ohio, which may not fully recover for an additional three years.
The bright forecast comes after preliminary unemployment statistics released for September show the McPherson area rebounded to a 4.8 percent unemployment rate. That’s down 0.6 percent from August and much closer to the county’s average rate of 4 percent.
While the report is encouraging to those still struggling to find work, those industries which dominate Kansas’ job makeup are expected to shift significantly. According to the 2008-2018 Occupational Outlook released by the Kansas Department of Labor late last week, many of those sectors which dominated the state’s job market are likely to fade by the end of the recovery.
Manufacturing, which has long been a strong player in the state’s economy, is forecast to lose 5,500 jobs during the 10-year period, a 2.9 percent contraction. The report suggests that mining, which includes oil and gas production, may drop by 14.3 percent, representing a loss of 1,410 jobs.
While the two industries, which have strong ties to McPherson, are among those expected to shrink even as America’s economic recovery continues, other local sectors are set to grow. Fields in health care and social assistance are expected to have thousands of additional workers by the end of the period, eventually making up 13 percent of all jobs in the state. That is good news for businesses like Hospira which, while involved in manufacturing, are intrinsically tied to medicine and health care.
“As Kansans get older they consume more health-care services,” said economist Tyler Tenbrink in an online explanation of the outlook’s contents. “That creates more demand on employment.”
The service sector, of which health care is a component, is expected to account for almost all job growth in the coming years. In contrast, the goods-producing sector likely will see little to no growth whatsoever, with manufacturing losses countering job growth in construction.
McPherson’s north-central region is expected to grow at 8 percent, on par for the state and well above the southwest’s 6.6 percent.
If the region manages to stay true to its 8 percent prediction, McPherson’s unemployment rate will likely fall on schedule, returning to historically normal levels in 2013 or 2014.