The latest recession, which began in December 2007, did not significantly impact the Kansas construction industry until 2009, when employment declined to an annual average of 58,104 from an annual average of 65,818 in 2007. The recovery in Kansas construction employment has been similarly delayed to 2012. Since that year, construction employment in Kansas has been increasing every year. In 2015, Kansas employment in the industry was 61,005. A significant share of the construction workforce works in the specialty trade contractors sector. This sector experienced a decline in employment from 2008. Employment kept declining reaching a peak in 2011 (33,581) until 2012 when the section started to recover.
As of March 2016, Oklahoma-based SandRidge Energy and Texas-based Linn Energy warned of possible bankruptcy filings. These two companies are large oil and gas producers in Kansas. In fact, in 2014, SandRidge ranked as the premier oil producer and the second largest natural gas producer in Kansas —Harper and Sumner counties were the company’s main Kansas operation sites. Similarly, Linn, which concentrates its Kansas operations in the Southeast region, was the premier natural gas producer. In 2015, revenue and profits for these two companies, and other oil and gas producers operating in Kansas, were affected by the decline in oil and gas prices.
Contractors in the Wichita area have experienced an increased demand as a result of higher health projects in the health care industry. According to Mike Grier, president and CEO of Eby Construction, advanced technologies and improved services for patients explain the resurgence of health care-related construction work in recent years. These projects usually involve construction of new clinics, care campuses or specialty care facilities, and renovation of existing facilities. For example, Eby Construction has participated in Via Christi Health’s renovation projects.
The second phase of Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus project started in April 2016 and is programmed to be completed during fall 2016. Construction plans involve building two new streets, sidewalks, and a pedestrian mall. The second phase also includes the installation of landscaping and fiber optic cable. In 2015, Sedgwick County Public Building Commission issued a $45 million bond to finance the new infrastructure.
Note: Contact us for geographic specific information.