Commentary: Great Recession doesn't feel over

If the Great Recession officially ended more than a year ago, when is the Wichita economy going to get the memo and start acting accordingly?

True, the local jobless rate improved from 8.5 percent in July to 8.2 percent in August, having slid a full percentage point over the past year.

That's moving in the right direction, if not at the desired pace.

But Tuesday brought more alarming news: Another 700 jobs are being cut at Cessna Aircraft in Wichita, along with a downward adjustment in the production schedule.

That will make the company's local work force half the size it was just two years ago, when Cessna employed 12,000 people in Wichita.

The job cuts, announced just three days after Cessna dodged a strike called for by the Machinists union leadership, mean more area families will go into the holiday season fretting about how to cover bills and find new employment and income.

It also would seem to guarantee a continuing need for the Laid-Off Workers Center and the other countermeasures coordinated and funded by the United Way of the Plains, which just launched its fall campaign aiming to raise $15 million. Other area social service agencies will feel the jolt, too, and need more help from the community to respond.

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