The unemployment rate for the Wichita area rose to 8.4 percent in November, up from 8.0 percent in October, according to the Kansas Department of Labor.
The November rate broke a hopeful pattern in which the rates of the past six months were better than the same months in 2009. The November rate was higher than the 8.3 percent in November 2009.
The number of people in the Wichita area who said they were unemployed and seeking work was nearly identical with November 2009, at 26,000, but the number of people working had fallen from about 291,500 to 285,500 _ a drop of about 6,000 people.
The numbers were disappointing, said Malcolm Harris, an economist and professor at Friends University, just as the most recent national employment report was.
The national unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent in November from 9.6 percent in October.
"We're not seeing the upsurge in hiring for the retail season that we would have five years ago before the recession," Harris said.
"And I think that small and medium-sized businesses are afraid to take on new people for the future. Although I think this tax package will help with some of that."
A second monthly employment report, called the nonfarm jobs report, told a slightly different story. It showed that the number of jobs in November were the same as in November 2009 and 4,000 higher than October. The sectors doing the most hiring were health care, restaurants and hotels, and government.
The nonfarm jobs report surveys only employers and tends to leave out sole proprietorships, freelance workers and work-from-home-type jobs.
The state unemployment rate also rose, to 6.7 percent in November from 6.4 percent in October.
Elsewhere in Kansas: Lawrence, 6.0 percent in November from 5.6 percent in October; Topeka, 7.1 percent, from 6.7 percent; Kansas City area, 7.0 percent, from 6.9 percent; and Manhattan, 5.2 percent, from 4.9 percent.