University Drives Manhattan's Economy, Followed by Retail, Manufacturing
The students and employees of Kansas State University represent roughly 60 percent of the population in Manhattan. As such, it comes as no surprise that the university is one of the community’s major economic drivers. More than 5,500 men and women earn their living from Kansas State, making the school Manhattan’s largest employer. In addition to the jobs the university provides, though, other economic benefits trickle through the community. For example, because of the thriving student population, retail is a major industry for the city. A surge in that sector began in 2003 and has continued, making retail the number three industry in the area, employing nearly 20 percent of workers. Manufacturing is also a major player in the community’s economic landscape. Florence Manufacturing Co. is a manufacturer of mailboxes and other mail collection and distribution accessories. The company’s facility in the area is a significant local employer. GTM Sportswear employs about 400 people at its facility in Manhattan. The company makes warm-ups, jackets, uniforms and other customized gear for sports teams, cheerleaders and dancers. McCall Pattern Co. is another national outfit with operations in Manhattan. The privately owned company deals in sewing patterns and instructions for all manner of clothing and home décor. Fort Riley Army Base is also a substantial force, employing approximately 4,100 civilians in the area. Manhattan is also benefiting from an ongoing downtown redevelopment project. Construction on the project began in 2006 with a new Best Buy leading the way for retail revitalization in the area. The economy in Manhattan, based on several different industries, hums along steadily upward. The university is a constant source of vibrancy, but other industries provide diversity and stability. Residents looking for a job or looking to start a business will find the climate they need in Manhattan.