The state’s preliminary job numbers for February are encouraging – though over the past year the state remains among the worst performers in the nation. Seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs increased by 4,200 from the previous month, according to the Kansas Department of Labor. That’s a healthy increase, driven by gains in construction and health services. But compared to February 2016, Kansas had 400 fewer jobs. That’s the sixth worst job growth rate in the nation over the past 12 months, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state’s unemployment rate (4.0 percent), labor force and average weekly hours worked also showed little change from 12 months ago. So while the February job gains are hopeful, it could take a while to climb out of the hole. – Phillip Brownlee
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