Wichita's unemployment rate rose to 8.7 percent in January, up from December's 7.7 percent, according to the Kansas Department of Labor.
The jump likely reflects the impact of layoffs after Christmas. A large increase is typically seen between December and January every year.
In fact, the biggest drop in employment came in the sector that includes retail, falling by 1,600 employees in the greater Wichita area.
The good news is that the total amount of employment was virtually the same in January as it was in January 2010 — meaning that the fall in total employment has finally stopped.
But the unemployment rate this year is lower than the 9.5 percent of January 2010 because 2,500 fewer people are looking for work.
Overall, the increase in the rate in January was in line with other rate increases across the state. The state's rate was 7.4 percent in January, up from 6.4 percent in December.
Lawrence's rate was 6.7 percent, up from 5.6 percent; Topeka's was 7.8 percent, up from 6.6 percent; Kansas City's was 8.0 percent, up from 6.8 percent; and Manhattan's was 5.9 percent, up from 4.9 percent.