Economy

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Employment in Kansas is expected to grow about 1 percent in the coming year, according to a new forecast out of Wichita State University.

WSU’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research says total nonfarm employment is expected to increase by almost 14,000 jobs. Most of the jobs will be in the service industry and the trade, transportation and utilities sector.

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A new report shows Kansas lost thousands of jobs between October and November.

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The fourth Regional Mayors Summit will be held in Derby on Wednesday. As KMUW’s Carla Eckels reports, mayors from a 10-county region are expected to share ideas about how to stimulate the economy in south-central Kansas.

Mayors from Wichita, Derby, Mount Hope and Goddard are coordinating the summit, which is expected to attract close to 30 mayors from across south-central Kansas.

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Kansas officials updated the state’s revenue forecast earlier this month, and this week will be the first chance to see how the estimates stack up. As Stephen Koranda reports, state tax collections for November will be reported on Thursday.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas officials have lowered the forecast for future tax collections by hundreds of millions of dollars, creating a bleak budget picture. The state now faces a $350 million deficit in the current fiscal year and a nearly $600 million budget gap in the next fiscal year.

Sometimes when the revenue estimate is lowered, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback immediately announces cuts to balance the budget. Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, says they aren’t doing that this time.

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Kansas is preparing for a new fiscal forecast for state government that is expected to be more pessimistic in projecting the state's tax collections than the current one.

State officials, legislative researchers and university economists were meeting Thursday to draft revised projections for tax collections through June 2017. They also planned to issue the first projections for the following two years.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, his staff and legislators use the numbers in budgeting. The current forecast was issued in April.

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Low prices mean many farmers are facing tough times. As Harvest Public Media’s Jeremy Bernfeld explains, farmers think that’s not likely to let up.

Bumper harvest after bumper harvest has plunged prices for important crops like corn and soybeans.

Jim Mintert is a professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University. In a recent survey, his team found the vast majority of farmers expect bad financial times over the next year. More than a quarter said they expect prices to dip below what it takes to break even.

New numbers show the unemployment rate in Kansas went up for the fourth month in a row.

The Kansas Department of Labor reports the state’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.4 percent in September. That’s up from 4 point one percent a year ago. The agency also says the state’s total labor force has decreased over the year.

Between August and September, Kansas lost 2100 private-sector jobs.

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In spite of a sluggish economy, Wichita home sales are expected to rise for the sixth straight year, according to the latest housing forecast from the Wichita State University Center for Real Estate.

The report says Wichita home sales should rise 5.8 percent by the end of this year and another 5 percent in 2017. Director Stan Longhofer says overall, the housing forecast looks very solid.

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The annual Wichita Employment Forecast has been released by the Center for Economic Development and Research at WSU. Non-farm employment is expected to increase by nearly 2500 jobs next year.

Director Jeremy Hill says the forecast for the Wichita area will grow by .8 percent, which is a little bit slow in growth from last year.

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