Nationally, 2014 was a year of strengthening recovery, while the Wichita regional economy suffered some unforeseen setbacks that kept the economy from reaching its full potential. At the national level, real GDP grew by 3.9 percent in the third quarter of 2014, after growing 4.6 percent in the second quarter, and employment grew 1.8 percent through the first eleven months of 2014. Due to a sharp contraction in the production sectors, the Wichita metropolitan area experienced growth weaker than the national average, with employment increasing by 1,312 jobs through the first ten months of 2014, for 0.3 percent growth.
Back in January 2014, the Center for Economic Development and Business Research (CEDBR) at Wichita State University released its 2014 forecast, predicting 2,623 jobs would be added to the Wichita economy in 2014. Given the Wichita economy’s performance in the first ten months of 2014, it is unlikely that the Wichita economy will grow by the 2,623 forecasted for 2014. Outside of the production sectors, CEDBR’s sector forecasts for Wichita employment have been largely accurate. CEDBR will be releasing its updated 2015 employment forecasts on January 5th, 2015.