The Wichita area’s unemployment rate was basically unchanged in March, coming in at 4.9 percent, the same rate as in February.
Statewide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.2 percent, also unchanged from February and down from 4.6 percent in March 2014, according to the Kansas Department of Labor.
“March was the 12th consecutive month of unemployment rates at or below 4.5 percent, showing a steady economy with high labor force participation from Kansans,” said Lana Gordon, secretary of Labor, in a news release.
In Wichita, the labor force continues to shrink. It declined by about 500 workers between February and March. According to data on the state labor department’s website, the Wichita metro area’s civilian labor force in March was 307,064, compared to 311,551 in March 2014. That’s the number of people employed or looking for work.
The number of employed in the civilian labor force in the metro area fell to 291,880, compared to 294,017 last March. Wichita’s metro area includes Butler, Harvey, Kingman, Sedgwick and Sumner counties.
Statewide, figures show Kansas gained 16,100 private sector jobs since last year, or 1.4 percent. Kansas nonfarm jobs increased by 15,400 jobs, a 1.1 percent increase since March 2014, according to the state’s news release.
Since last month, Kansas lost 1,400 seasonally adjusted private sector jobs, or 0.1 percent. The state lost 2,400 seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs, a 0.2 percent decrease, between February and March.
“Looking at the March preliminary estimates, demand for labor in the state is mixed, employers did report gains over the year in jobs and wages, however those gains are below the estimates reported last month,” said Tyler Tenbrink, senior labor economist. “The number of average weekly hours worked has been steady over the last 12 months.”
Statewide, the biggest losses in jobs have been in the oil industry (mining and logging is the official category) and manufacturing. Gains were seen in leisure and hospitality, construction, and professional and business services.