Topeka — The state has more evidence that its economy continues to hum along.
The unemployment rate for Kansas remained at 3.3 percent in August, the Department of Human Resources reported Tuesday. The Kansas work force shrunk, but so did the number of people actively seeking jobs.
The department expected those developments because they represent the normal seasonal trend. The jobless rate has followed seasonal trends for months.
"It's doing wonderfully," said William Layes, the department's chief of labor market information. "The economy is great in our state right now."
Douglas County's unemployment rate for August was 3.8 percent, unchanged from July and up from 3.2 percent a year earlier.
Statewide, the department normally expects the number of people working in August to decrease, Layes said, because students return to their college and high school campuses. Because they also stop looking for jobs, there's a trade-off that results in little overall change in the unemployment rate, he said.
"The same thing occurred last year," he said.
Layes said the department also expects September numbers to reflect little change in the unemployment rate when they are released next month.
He said the state could see an increase in employment in October, especially if stores are optimistic about the holiday season and start hiring early.
The department reported that the number of people in Kansas holding jobs in August was a little more than 1.4 million, down by about 25,000 from July's record of 1,429,524.
The number of people actively seeking work also declined by 371, to 47,922.
In August 1999, the unemployment rate was only 2.8 percent. However, the state's economy was smaller, with about 9,300 fewer people holding jobs and about 7,500 fewer people looking for work.
The jobless rate in the state's portion of the Kansas City metropolitan area followed the state trend, remaining constant at 3 percent, but the rate increased in the Topeka and Wichita areas.
For the Topeka area, the rate increased to 3.5 percent in August. It was 3.2 percent in July.
In the Wichita area, the rate was 3.9 percent in August, up from 3.7 percent in July.