Kansas’ jobless rate drops, but so does number of jobs

Although the Kansas Department of Labor reported the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Kansas fell to 4.9 percent in December from 5.1 percent in November, the news was decidedly mixed.

The actual number of jobs in the state fell slightly from November in seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted counts, by about 7,500 to 8,500 jobs.

The December unemployment rate was better than the 5.5 percent rate of December 2012, and the number of jobs was up about 10,000 jobs compared to a year ago, but that is less than a 1 percent improvement over the year.

In a statement Secretary of Labor Lana Gordon trumpeted the year-over-year job gain.

“For the second consecutive year, Kansas saw over the year growth of more than 10,000 jobs,” she said. “This is all good news for Kansans.”

The Wichita metro area saw a loss of about 1,000 jobs in December compared to November. It lost about 2,000 jobs compared to December 2012, according to the data.

Kansas has had a very slow recovery in jobs since it came out of recession in 2009. Wichita has been the weakest part of Kansas, in large part because of the financially troubled general aviation manufacturing sector.

Statewide, the sectors that saw the most job growth from a year ago were professional and business services, financial activities, and the education and health services industries, which accounted for about 80 percent of the 10,000 nonfarm jobs gained.