Cost of Living Less in WichitaThe Council for Community and Economic Research released its annual Cost of Living Index for 269 urban areas. CEDBR is continuing its analysis of the components of the index by examining the healthcare component of the index. Wichita’s overall Healthcare Index value was 4 percentage points below the national average value of 100. The most expensive area for healthcare was Juneau, AK with an Index value 56.2 percentage points above the national average. The least expensive area was San Juan, PR which was nearly 36 percentage points below the national average. Read the full analysis.

To compare cost of living between Kansas and other areas, try our cost of living calculator.

To subscribe to the Cost of Living Index report, or to learn more about The Council for Community and Economic Research, visit their website.

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Unemployment Rates Declined from November to December 2017

EmploymentThe unemployment rate for Kansas, as a whole, decreased from November 2017 to December 2017. The Wichita, Topeka, Manhattan and Lawrence MSAs also saw an unemployment rate decrease.

A slide presentation is available with additional employment and unemployment data for Kansas and its four metro areas.

View the December slide presentation.

Current and Leading Indices Improved from November to December 2017

Current & Leading Indices From November to December 2017 the Current Conditions Index increased by 0.3. The Current Conditions Index increased year-to-year by 1.4 percent from December 2016 to December 2017. In addition, the Leading Index is forecasting a 1.23 percent increase in economic activity over the next six months.

Read a further analysis of the monthly Index activity.

Access Index data.

Midwest Inflation Declined for Metro Areas from November to December

InflationThe Consumer Price Index is used to calculate inflation, or the change in price of a basket of goods and services, as it impacts consumers; whereas, the Producer Price Index measures changes in selling prices, thereby expressing price changes from the perspective of the seller who produces a particular commodity.

A slide presentation updated with December 2017 data shows the Midwest inflation rate decreased slightly from November to December for urban metro areas. The smaller non-metropolitan areas noticed a 0.20 percent increase.

The Producer Price Index data shows that prices in the United States have increased from December 2016 to December 2017 for aircraft (0.9 percent), slaughter livestock (7.5 percent), crude petroleum (14.5 percent), wheat (12.6 percent) and sorghum (13.6 percent). During that same time period, the index decreased for natural gas (-9.8 percent).

Access this slide presentation.

Learn more about the CPI.

Learn more about the PPI.

Employment-Population Ratio Peer Cities, Updated 2016 Data

Click to enlarge.The employment-population ratio is a measure of labor market strength; it is calculated by dividing the number of employed workers in an area by the total civilian non-institutionalized population aged 16 and over in that region. This is often used alongside the unemployment rate in determining the strength of the labor market.

  • All five counties experienced a decline in their employment-population ratios in both the 2001 and 2008 recessions. In the 2001 recession, Kent County, Michigan, experienced the largest drop in its employment-population ratio, while in the 2008 recession, Summit County, Ohio, had the largest drop in the employment-population ratio. The average decline in the employment-population ratio among these counties due to the 2008 recession was roughly seven percentage points.

Read more.

Updated Kansas Services & Retail Gap Analysis

Retail and Services KansasRetail sales and professional and business services are an important part of the local economies of every county throughout Kansas. CEDBR has updated its service and retail gap analysis for every county in Kansas, comparing the retail sales and employment, as well as sales and employment of the professional, scientific, technical, and other services sectors in each county to their peer counties in Kansas.

Read the Services Analysis Summary.

Read the Retail Analysis Summary.

Stock Market Forecast Results

The contestants in CEDBR’s S&P 500 Prediction Challenge each gave a prediction for the value of the S&P 500 stock market index on August 31st, 2018.  As of November 5th, the closing date for entries into the Challenge, the S&P 500 index was valued at 2,587.  The median prediction among the contestants for the S&P 500 Index is 2,663.58 points.  On average, contestants predicted that the S&P 500 will increase by 3 percent over the next ten months, after the index increased by 14.6 percent this year to date.

Approximately 60 percent of the contestants predicted that the stock market would increase in 2018 over its November 2017 value.  Many of their predictions were more bullish than major analysts forecast for 2018.  Recently, analysts at Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup forecast the S&P 500 to reach 2,500 points, 2,600 points, and 2,675 points, respectively, in 2018. The Federal Reserve Board has forecast continued economic growth in 2018, with modest inflationary expectations and a half point increase in the Federal Funds rate projected.

See results at

Misery Index Increased Across Kansas, 2017 Q3

Misery Index in KansasBetween the second and third quarters of 2017, the general level of misery experienced by people in the United States and Kansas increased, but remained below the 2016 level, reversing the improvements of the second quarter. This can be attributed to increases in the unemployment rate and inflation.

Among the metropolitan areas in the state, Wichita and Kansas City both have levels of misery above the state level. The level of misery in Wichita is above the national level, all other areas in Kansas are below the national level.

The Misery Index, as calculated by the Center for Economic Development and Business Research (CEDBR), includes the following components:

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • The House Price Index (HPI) from the Federal Housing Finance Agency
  • Unemployment Rates (UR) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Read the complete third quarter report.

Kansas Population Forecast: U.S. Comparison

The U.S. Census Bureau has published their population projections for the entire United States from 2015 to 2060 , and they project that the United States population will grow from 321.4 million to 416.8 million in that period. This represents 29.6 percent growth for the U.S. population, which is projected to expand more rapidly than the Kansas population.

Both the Kansas and the U.S. populations are projected to have positive growth rates throughout this period, with growth generally slowing over much of this period as well.

Read the complete article.

YouTube, Kansas Population Forecast