The Wichita area's unemployment rate for September was unchanged from August at 8.2 percent.
In a report released today, the Kansas Department of Labor estimates that about 283,300 people in the metro area are working and 25,200 are unemployed and looking for work — almost exactly the same as the previous month.
However, the September rate was lower than the September 2009 rate of 8.9 percent. But that's little consolation because in September 2009 both the number of people working and the number searching for work were higher. It reflects, say experts, a certain level of discouragement among job seekers.
This report comes from a survey of households and covers all forms of employment, including home-based work.
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A second measure of employment released Friday, a survey of non-farm employers, showed a more nuanced picture of the various sectors of the Wichita area economy.
In this survey, total employment in the Wichita area actually rose about 2,000 jobs in September, but that was because government employment rose by nearly 4,000 as school employees returned to work, said state labor economist Tyler Tenbrink.
Private employment fell in September in most categories, by about 2,000 jobs. Only health care continues to buck the trend, adding about 200 jobs.
The bulk of the losses come in the construction/oil and gas sector, down 700 jobs, and restaurants/hotel sector, down 600 jobs. These sectors tend to shed workers in the fall because of seasonal slowdowns.
The key manufacturing sector remained flat, but the numbers do not reflect any of the recently announced layoffs at Hawker Beechcraft or Cessna Aircraft. Those layoffs won't be reflected in the numbers until December.
Unemployment in Kansas was 6.7 percent in September, even with August. In other Kansas metros: the Kansas part of Kansas City, 7.1 percent, up from 6.8 percent; Topeka, 7 percent, up from 6.8 percent; Lawrence, 5.9 percent, down from 6 percent; Manhattan, 5.3 percent, down from 5.4 percent.