Kansas unemployment increases to 7.1 percent

Kansas unemployment rate went to 7.1 percent in January, according to a state labor report released this morning. That’s up from a 6.3 percent jobless rate in December.

The jobless rate in Kansas’ piece of the metro area was slightly worse than the state average, at 7.5 percent.

Gov. Mark Parkinson called the numbers “discouraging.”

“It’s clear that Kansas continues to reel from the effects of the national recession. While we remain below the national unemployment rate, there are still too many Kansans without a job,” Parkinson said in a statement.

The state’s Department of Labor report noted that the state almost always loses jobs in January, after seasonal holiday employment ends.

Of the state’s major population centers, Wichita leads the state in unemployment at 8.6 percent. Wichita has been hit hard by job losses in the aerospace industry. Unemployment was lowest in Lawrence at 5.8 percent.

Over all of 2009, Kansas businesses lost 54,100 jobs, a 4 percent decrease.

Manufacturing jobs – aerospace included - led the way, losing 24,700 jobs over the year.

Professional and business services lost 12,100 jobs, with most losses in administrative support services.

Trade, transportation and utilities lost 6,300 jobs.