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Medical sector a relatively minor contributor to Wichita’s economic recovery, says report

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, July 2, 2013, at 12 a.m.

The Wichita area’s medical sector has contributed relatively little to the city’s economic recovery, according to a new research report.

The report by the Brookings Institution compares growth in medical employment to growth in overall employment. The report found that just 6 percent of the growth in employment since the depth of the recession through 2012 occurred in the medical sector.

That finding meant the Wichita area ranked 80th in the impact of its medical sector growth out of the top 100 U.S. metros.

Medical employment in the area dipped during 2009 and 2010, although far less less than for the workforce as a whole. Health care employment in the Wichita area rose about more than 1,000 jobs through 2011 and 2012, according to the Kansas Department of Labor, but tougher times may be here.

The state figures show a sharp downturn of about 600 health care jobs in May. And Via Christi announced in mid-May that it would eliminate up to 400 positions by the end of June because of a decline in hospital admissions and physician visits.

The U.S. cities that saw their medical sectors grow faster than their economies as a whole were concentrated heavily in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions. Those with the weakest growth in their health care sectors were on the West Coast, Mountain West and Texas.

Reach Dan Voorhis at 316-268-6577 or dvoorhis@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danvoorhis.

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