The Wichita metro area unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent in August from 7.8 percent in July, according to the Kansas Department of Labor.
The local unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted, and July often sees a spike in unemployment followed by a drop when school resumes in August.
The local unemployment rate has been trending down slowly, but not because more people are getting work. It’s because fewer people are reporting themselves as unemployed and actively searching for work because they grew discouraged, retired or left the area.
August’s rate was a full percentage point below the 8.3 percent rate in August 2011 and nearly 2 percentage points below the 9.1 percent rate of August 2010. According to state labor officials, about 3,000 fewer people were unemployed in August than in August 2011.