Kansas Employment Forecast
In 2021, overall state-level unemployment was estimated to have fallen dramatically from 6.2% to 4%. Indicative of continuing labor market adaptation and recovery from the ongoing novel Coronavirus pandemic, these trends are expected to continue throughout 2022 and 2023, halving the number of Kansans left unemployed in 2020. There remains a degree of uncertainty as mutations of the virus such as the Delta and Omicron variants continue to place strain on the population, workforce, and economy through surges in infection rates. Still, this strain is dampened by continually increasing access to and availability of vaccines and treatments, and the outlook appears increasingly optimistic.
By sectors, employment growth is expected to be felt unevenly. Trade occupations saw strong growth in 2021, where they added 10,000 jobs. Solid growth is forecasted for 2022 and 2023, where the respective addition of 5,000 (1.6%) and 4,000 (0.8%) jobs are expected. The largest component of Kansas’ labor market, the service sector, grew by 1.2% in 2021, adding 8,000 jobs, and is expected to continue growing through 2023, making a net addition of 18,000 jobs since 2020.
The most significant component of job growth in the service sector comes from leisure and hospitality occupations, which have rebounded dramatically in 2021 (6.4% growth from 2020) alongside increasing vaccine availability and an ever-adapting labor force and job market. Concurrent with this expansion, retail sales have similarly bounced back in 2021, growing 8% relative to 2020, and are forecasted to continue growth, even after adjusting for inflation. As a result, retail sales in 2022 and 2023 are both expected to exceed $4 billion.
In the production sector, growth was less impressive in 2021, where it lost 500 jobs. However, this trend is forecasted to reverse in 2022 and 2023, adding 3,000 jobs and another 2,700. Similarly, the government sector lost 850 jobs in 2021 but is expected to recover somewhat in 2022 with 0.6% growth. In 2023, government is estimated to grow by 0.1%, netting an increase of 850 jobs since 2020.
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