Health sector among fastest growing in economy in Kansas

In Feature, MSSC News by admin

New data shows the health care sector is among the fastest growing in the economy, according to a study released last month by Kansas State University.

The entire health sector in Kansas employs more than 238,000 people and is the fourth largest aggregate employer in Kansas, researchers said.

The report, called “The Importance of the Health Care Sector to the Kansas Economy,” estimates the economic contribution associated with the health care sector to the State of Kansas. It was funded by the Kansas Hospital Association.

“Although the connections between health care services and local economic development are often overlooked, there are at least three important linkages to be recognized,” said investigator John Leatherman, professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University, and director of the Office of Local Government, K-State Research and Extension. He said a strong health care system can:

  • Help attract and maintain business and industry growth
  • Attract and retain retirees
  • Create jobs in the local area.

“A vigorous and sustainable health care system is essential not only for the health and welfare of community residents, but to enhance economic opportunity as well,” Leatherman wrote.

The report ties in with an MSSC-sponsored economic study last year that shows health care second only to manufacturing when it comes to jobs and payroll.

Health care and related industries accounted for 15.6 percent of all employment in the Wichita statistical area, consisting of Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey, Sumner and Kingman counties, according to the report prepared by the WSUCenter for Economic Development and Business Research.

Almost 43,600 people worked directly in health care and related industries in 2016, while more than 29,300 indirect jobs also came from health care. The total employment of nearly 73,000 contributed $2.8 billion in wages to the area’s economy. Those jobs paid an average annual wage of $41,998, up slightly from 2014.