Wichita's jobless rate stays nearly unchanged

The Wichita-area unemployment rate was largely unchanged in November, moving to 7.9 percent from a revised 7.8 percent in October, according to the Kansas Department of Labor.

The number of people working fell by about 100 in November, while the number of people not employed and seeking work rose by about 400, to 25,900.

Economist Malcolm Harris, a professor at Friends University, said Thursday that the new numbers are a more accurate gauge of the real full-time unemployment situation in the Wichita area than the more alarming numbers seen over the summer.

The rate had swelled to 10 percent in July, but that number tends to include students and other people seeking seasonal work.

"October and November are not influenced by seasonal factors like the summer months and December and January," he said.

That may mean that the rate will rise again this month and again next summer, he said.

The Wichita rate remains well above the Kansas City area's Kansas counties, 6.2 percent; Topeka, 6.0 percent; Lawrence, 4.9 percent; and Manhattan, 3.9 percent.

Overall the state had a rate of 6.2 percent.

But Wichita remains far better than most of the nation, which had a jobless rate of 10 percent in November.