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Archive for Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Jobless rate shows economic slowdown lingering

April 24, 2002

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— Unemployment across the state dropped slightly in March, and it even improved in Doniphan County, where the jobless rate has been the state's highest.

But the Department of Human Resources reported Tuesday that seasonal trends were largely responsible for the state's figure declining to 4.6 percent, from 4.7 percent in February. The seasonally adjusted national rate was 5.7 percent.

And the state's improvement was of little comfort for Doniphan County, where the jobless rate still was 12.5 percent down from February's figure of 13.5 percent.

State unemployment remained higher than it was last year. The rate for March 2001 was 4.3 percent.

Statewide, spring weather and the start of outdoor construction projects helped to improve the picture, as it typically does. The jobless rate has dropped or remained unchanged from February every year since 1983.

The department said Kansas' non-farm payroll grew by 12,400 jobs in March as outdoor work began to increase. Government posted the biggest gains, adding 5,500 jobs, primarily in work on new school additions and outdoor maintenance.

Total employment stood at 1.38 million for March, with the number of unemployed Kansans dropping by 2,400 to 65,700. The number of initial unemployment insurance claims in March was 11,279 compared with 13,520 in February.

Bill Layes, chief of labor market information for the state, said manufacturing, transportation and utility sectors were the only exceptions to an otherwise good jobless report.

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