Archive for Wednesday, September 25, 2002

State jobless rate declines in August

September 25, 2002


— The state is still feeling the effects of a slow economy, but its unemployment rate dropped in August because of normal seasonal trends.

The Department of Human Resources reported Tuesday that the jobless rate was 4.4 percent, down from 4.6 percent in July.

Here are work force, employment and unemployment figures for August. The first figure is the total work force, followed by the number of people holding jobs, the number of unemployed and the jobless rate.

Lawrence 45,041; 42,943; 2,098; 4.7.Kansas City 75,247; 68,360; 6,887; 9.2.Topeka 68,226; 65,130; 3,096; 4.5

The rate for August 2001 was 4.1 percent, and joblessness in Kansas has remained slightly higher this year than last year. In January, it jumped to 4.9 percent from 4.1 percent in December 2001, reflecting layoffs, particularly in communications and aviation.

"It's still showing the effects of a slow economy and some of the problems affecting the state in communications and air transportation," said David McGee, a labor market analyst for the department.

The department said normal seasonal trends were responsible for the decline last month.

The number of people working fell by about 21,000 to 1,386,974 in July.

However, the number of people actively seeking work but unable to find a job also declined by about 3,900 to 63,314.

That's not unusual, McGee said. The movement of high school and college students through the job market during the summer causes seasonal changes in the jobless rate.

"It will gradually decline as those folks find work or leave the labor market to return to school," he said.

The department said employment in mining, construction, government, financial services, and transportation and utilities all showed slight declines. The number of jobs in wholesale and retail trade remained steady, while manufacturing employment grew by about 1,300 jobs, to about 199,700.

In Douglas County, the jobless rate dropped to 4.3 percent from 4.7 percent in July.

The jobless rate in Shawnee County increased to 3.9 percent from 3.7 percent in July, largely because of manufacturing layoffs, the department said.

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