There are some bright spots in Wichita's economy.
While much of the area's aviation sector wrestles with a slow economic recovery, a few companies operating in Wichita are in stable industries with prospects for growth.
Others are adding jobs. Those jobs don't pay as much as aircraft manufacturing wages, but they are jobs.
And they come at a time when layoffs in Wichita's mainstay industry — aircraft manufacturing — have been coming in waves, big waves, since November 2008.
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So far, those layoffs have claimed more than 12,000 jobs at Wichita's three business jet makers: Bombardier Learjet, Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft.
T-Mobile's call center at 2525 N. Woodlawn is adding 75 more workers this fall. That's in addition to 75 it hired earlier this year, said Bill Jackson, director of customer service and general manager of the center.
The jobs pay between $10.57 to $12.50 an hour.
The center, which this year marks its 10th in Wichita, employs 600 people.
The additional hiring is "indicative" of business activity in the wireless industry, Jackson said.
"We're adding those positions as our call volume and customers increase."
Convergys, another Wichita call center at 7236 E. Harry, is halfway through filling 750 full-time, seasonal positions, said spokeswoman Amy Williams.
The jobs are expected to last through early next year, Williams said.
Some of those jobs could become permanent positions, but Williams said she didn't know how many.
Convergys' Wichita center typically hires a number of seasonal workers this time of the year, Williams said, but not as many as 750. That's because the in-bound call center supports a large health care client that Convergys won't identify.
Williams said this year is different because of the new federal health care law and all the changes that come with it.
It's expected to generate more calls from customers of Convergys' client, she said.
Spirit, LSI look good
Wichita's largest employer, Spirit AeroSystems, may not be actively adding scores of new jobs, but its prospects for growth in the next couple of years are looking pretty good.
A major supplier to Boeing, Spirit will have to increase production of its share of the Boeing 737. Spirit builds the fuselage and other parts of the company's most popular selling airliner.
A higher production rate — from 31.5 a month to 38 by the second quarter of 2013 —will mean Spirit will be busier. That doesn't necessarily mean more jobs at the company's South Oliver plant, which employs 10,300.
"It's not like it's going to happen tomorrow," said Spirit spokeswoman Debbie Gann. "A lot of the actual impact on Spirit will depend on what's going on with Spirit's other programs."
Still, it's a positive development for the company, especially considering that this time last year commercial aircraft analysts were expecting a slowdown in the industry.
"It's definitely good news anytime our customer increases production rates," Gann said.
Gann said with international air travel increasing by the month, and stable to slightly growing domestic air travel, airlines are turning a profit. In turn, they can buy new airplanes.
Business is looking positive for another large Wichita employer, data storage software and chip maker LSI.
The Milpitas, Calif.-based company operates a research facility at 3718 N. Rock. At last count, the company had 500 employees and 168 contractors at its Rock Road facility.
At the end of second quarter 2010, the company had turned in a strong first half of the year. Net income was $7.4 million, up from a loss of $61.5 million in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue also increased 23 percent to $639.4 million.
Those gains followed similar ones in the first quarter of the year.
"While improving end market demand for enterprise IT products continues to bode well for us, our outlook for the third quarter is one of tempered optimism as macro-economic conditions appear to be somewhat fluid at the present time," Abhi Talwalkar, LSI president and CEO, said in a news release announcing its second-quarter results.
An LSI spokeswoman said officials could not discuss the Wichita operation because the public company is in a quiet period until the end of the month.