Jobless rate holds at 6% in Wichita

The December unemployment rate in the Wichita area was 6 percent, the same as in November, and down from the 7.1 percent rate posted for December 2011, according to the Kansas Department of Labor.

The number of people working was down about 1,000 from November, to 287,500 workers. But the number of people counted as unemployed but searching for work was also down slightly.

Those not searching for work are not included in the unemployment rate.

December unemployment rates from other Kansas metro areas: Topeka, 6.1 percent; Kansas counties of Kansas City, 5.4 percent; Lawrence, 4.8 percent; Manhattan, 4.7 percent.

Statewide, the unemployment rate also held steady in December at 5.4 percent.

The state said last month’s jobless figure was down one full point from the 6.4 percent rate of December 2011.

Across the country, unemployment rates fell in less than half of U.S. states last month, as steady but slow hiring is making only gradual improvement in the job market.

The U.S. Department of Labor said Friday that rates fell in 22 states in December and rose in 16. They were unchanged in 12.

Nevada’s unemployment rate, the highest in the nation, dropped to 10.2 percent from 10.8 percent. Rhode Island’s rate was also 10.2 percent, down from 10.4 percent in November.

North Dakota reported the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, at 3.2 percent. Nebraska had the second-lowest rate, at 3.7 percent, followed by South Dakota at 4.4 percent.

Contributing: Associated Press