Unemployment rates rise in July for state, Wichita area

Kansas unemployment ticked up again in July, compared to June, as more workers joined the ranks of the unemployed and the number of jobs declined.

The state Department of Labor touted an additional 800 private-sector jobs in its news release, and it noted that government jobs had fallen by 18,900. The seasonally adjusted state unemployment rate for July was 5.9 percent, up from 5.8 percent in June. The unemployment rate was also 5.8 percent in July 2012.

Manufacturing lost 1,900 jobs in July, compared to June, and education and health services jobs declined by 800, according to the labor department’s release.

In the Wichita area, the unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in July, up from 6.6 percent in June, but down from 7.4 percent in July 2012. The metro area numbers are not seasonally adjusted.

In the metro area, the labor pool (those who had jobs or were looking for work) shrunk by more than 300 from June to July, and the number of employed dropped by about 1,700. Still, the number of employed in the Wichita area was up about 800 over July 2012, according to data posted by the labor department.

“Over the past three months we have observed an increase in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate,” Lana Gordon, state secretary of labor, said in a statement. “Part of the reason of increases in the previous months was due to more individuals entering the labor force.”

Statewide, the labor force grew by about 3,000, according to the labor department.

“The number of jobs created over the year is encouraging,” Efua Afful, the department’s labor economist, said in a statement. “Over the month, the private sector gained some jobs but did not perform as well as expected.”