Wichita unemployment rate higher in January; state’s rate fell

The state’s unemployment rate dipped to 4.8 percent in January from 4.9 percent in December, according to information released Monday by the Kansas Department of Labor.

The January rate was down from 5.6 percent in January 2013, according to the department.

“Seasonally adjusted job numbers in the state improved in January, along with another monthly decline in the unemployment rate,” said Lana Gordon, secretary of labor, in a statement to the media. “For 2014, the state is poised to add additional jobs to the 45,400 jobs gained since January 2011.”

For the Wichita area, the unemployment rate in January was 5.4 percent, up from 4.4 percent in December, but down from 5.9 percent in January 2013. Figures for the metro area – Sedgwick, Sumner, Butler and Harvey counties – are not seasonally adjusted.

The data from the labor department showed the Wichita area lost manufacturing jobs, compared to both December and January 2013. Over the past year, the area saw some of its bigger job gains in the service sector, trade and transportation, professional services, and leisure and hospitality.

Overall in the Wichita area, the number of nonfarm jobs decreased 1.4 percent from December to January. Compared to January 2013, the area saw a 0.7 percent increase in the number of nonfarm jobs.

Seasonally adjusted figures show Kansas gained 20,700 private sector and 19,000 nonfarm jobs since January 2013, or 1.9 and 1.4 percent respectively. Some of the bigger gains percentage-wise were in construction, mining and logging, and professional and business services. Losses statewide were recorded in manufacturing, government, and leisure and hospitality, according to data on the state Department of Labor website.