Although Douglas County employment levels rebounded with the start of the school year, the local job market still is lagging its 1992 performance.
Seasonal increases in employment, which typically accompany the start of the school year in Lawrence, brought the Douglas County jobless rate down to its lowest level this year.
The Kansas Department of Human Resources reported this morning that the Douglas County unemployment rate was 3.4 percent in September, down from 3.8 percent a month earlier.
The September reading was the lowest since November, when the local jobless rate registered 3.1 percent.
The KDHR also reported that the statewide jobless rate dropped from 4.9 percent in August to 4.5 percent in September. In September 1992 the Kansas rate was 4.2 percent.
The most notable change in the Douglas County labor picture during September was an increase of 1,700 in the number of government jobs. That category, which employed 13,500 people in September, up from 11,800 in August, includes jobs in local public schools and at Kansas University and Haskell Indian Nations University.
Employment in the service sector rose by 300 from August to September. That job category is a catchall that includes employment by private schools.
A third job increase that historically has occurred in the fall in Douglas County was in trade employment. The number of people working in retail jobs rose by 500 -- to 7,900 in September, while wholesale trade employment increased by 100 jobs.
All other job categories maintained their previous levels during September.
The local jobless rate averaged 3.2 percent for last year.