I took a quick and dirty look at how Wichita’s economy moves compared to national business cycles. This may give us a hint for when local employment here will start to rise again. The answer: it won’t be soon.
Here’s what I found in the last two cycles. What this shows is that Wichita’s employment starts to fall six months or less after the national GDP peaks and starts to fall, as local companies react to bad news and falling customer orders. But Wichita employment doesn’t stop falling and start rising again for 18 months to 3 years after the national economy hits bottom and starts to rise — which, at this point, is as least six months away. In other words, it could be 2-3 years or more from now before Wichita employment starts to rise again.
Peak Trough Peak Trough Peak Trough
National July 90 Mar 91 Mar 01 Nov. 01 Apr 01 ?????
Local Dec 90 Jan 94 Apr 01 Jul 03 Oct. 07 ?????
Diff. 5 mos 3 yrs 1 mo 1yr, 8 mos 6 mos.
Although employment is a lagging indicator, I used it in Wichita because we don’t have a timely local GDP number. Wichita’s economy will almost certainly start expanding again sooner than 2 or 3 years, but it takes that long for companies to start hiring.