Archive for Saturday, August 21, 2004

State’s job market better than past year

Kansas unemployment rate declines to 4.6 percent in July

August 21, 2004


— The state's jobless rate dropped to 4.6 percent in July, but state labor officials took more comfort Friday in numbers that showed job growth over the previous year.

The unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in June. It was higher in June because students flooded the employment market looking for summer jobs. When they found work or gave up, the rate dropped, as it has each July for the past two decades.

Here's a look at area unemployment percentages for July and how they compare to levels in June:¢ Douglas -- 4.9, down from 5.0.¢ Franklin -- 4.8, down from5.2.¢ Jefferson -- 3.4, down from 3.7.¢ Johnson -- 3.9, down from 4.2.¢ Leavenworth -- 6.2, down from 6.6.¢ Osage -- 6.3, up from 5.9.¢ Shawnee -- 5.4, down from 5.6.

In releasing employment figures, the Department of Labor focused on how the job market in July compared to the market in July 2003, when unemployment reached 5.7 percent. The department said the number of people holding nonfarm jobs in July, more than 1.3 million, was about 9,200 higher than in July 2003.

It was the fifth consecutive month in which more people had nonfarm jobs than in the same month in 2003.

"This continued job growth over the year is a welcome trend," said Labor Secretary Jim Garner. "I am sure we will face economic challenges in the coming months. It is important for the state to remain committed to creating jobs and revitalizing our economy."

The state's estimated total employment grew to more than 1.42 million in July, suggesting that the number of people holding jobs grew by nearly 5,600 compared to June and nearly 41,000 compared to July 2003.

The unemployment rate declined during the month in each of the state's four major metropolitan areas: to 5 percent from 5.4 percent in the state's portion of the Kansas City metro area; to 5.4 percent from 6 percent in the Wichita area; to 5.4 percent from 5.6 percent in the Topeka area; and to 4.9 percent from 5 percent in the Lawrence area.

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