New year coming with positive jobs outlook for Wichita area, KS

WICHITA, Kan. Wednesday's announcement from Spirit AeroSystems and the plan to add 1,400 jobs brought a lot of attention to the aviation industry in Wichita and projected growth for the year ahead.

However, when looking at the local job landscape, there's more out there. State and local data shows healthcare is actually the No. 1 industry when it comes to available positions in Wichita. That's reflected across Kansas.

The current unemployment rate in the state is 3.3 percent. That's below the national unemployment rate of 3.7 percent.

In Kansas, there are currently more than 40,000 open positions, and many of those are in the Wichita area.

"In the last quarter, there were over 5,000 jobs posted in our region," says Amanda Duncan with the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas. "And the highest number of jobs were posted from the healthcare industry."

Duncan says it's typical to see healthcare at the top of the list when it comes to available jobs. According the workforce alliance's data from last quarter, healthcare is followed by manufacturing jobs, transportation and logistics, data and IT and oil and gas.

The list does not include jobs in the service industry, which the Kansas Department of Labor says are also in high demand.

"This is a really good time to be a young person looking for a job, starting your career," Duncan says. "It's also a great time to be someone who's looking to change careers because there's many jobs available."

Duncan says in recent years, the workforce alliance has noticed an increased need to fill tech positions.

For south central Kansas, she says the overall job outlook is positive.

"It's a really encouraging time," she says. "(There are) a lot of jobs available and it's just a lot of opportunity available in the region."

Data from the Kansas Department of Labor shows the most common reason employers struggle to fill jobs is due to a lack of skills for specific positions. To help employers connect with the right candidates, the Wichita Workforce Center hosts job fairs every month.

You can find more information on these job fairs at the
workforce center's website.