The Wichita area unemployment rate dipped slightly to 7.9 percent in April, according to the Kansas Department of Labor.
That's down from 8.1 percent in March and February.
For the state as a whole, the April unemployment rate of 6.3 percent was a considerable improvement over 6.9 percent in March. The national unemployment rate was 9.9 percent in April.
The improvement in the four-county Wichita metro area was driven by an increase in the number of people working by 1,000, to about 287,100. That is the first such increase since the slight bump caused by seasonal hiring in December.
The number of people out of work, but actively searching fell to about 24,700.
"It's not a bad report," said Malcolm Harris, an economist and professor at Friends University.
There have been signs of hiring here and there by Wichita employers in recent weeks, mixed with scattered reports of layoffs.
The regular swelling of the work force in the summer will probably make the local unemployment rate look worse for a few months, but that's misleading, Harris said.
"So far, this confirms the local economy has hit bottom and, while it's not growing any, it's not getting worse," he said. "The worst is over, at this point."
The unemployment report in other parts of the state was stronger:
* Kansas side of Kansas City, 6.5 percent, down from 7.6 percent.
* Topeka, 6.3 percent, down from 6.8 percent.
* Lawrence, 5.4 percent, down from 5.6 percent.
* Manhattan, 5.0 percent, down from 5.2 percent.