Topeka — The state's unemployment rate remained at 5 percent in October, despite the addition of nearly 11,000 jobs, Kansas officials said Friday.
October's rate was an improvement from the same month in 2004 when the rate was 5.3 percent. Labor Secretary Jim Garner said for the 12-month period, Kansas has added 23,900 jobs to the economy, with 10 of 11 sectors showing increases over that period. Kansas has experienced 20 consecutive months of job growth.
"This month, the state sees continued gains in jobs," Garner said.
The unemployment rate in the Lawrence area, defined as Douglas County, was 3.7 percent last month, down from 3.8 percent in September and from 4.1 percent of a year earlier. The county has about 62,500 people on the job, about 500 more than a year ago.
Statewide employment gains were reported in mining, manufacturing and service jobs. Government added 7,200 jobs at all levels, reflecting the continual hiring of people with the start of the academic year.
The Labor Department reported 8,800 initial claims for unemployment benefits, down from 10,400 in October 2004. There were two reports of mass layoffs of more than 50 people for the month.
State budget analysts recently increased projections for state revenue collections for the next 18 months, citing the increase business activity and number of new hirings across Kansas. Analysts expect the job growth to remain steady for the next year as the economic recovery continues from the 2001 recession.
In the Topeka area - defined as including Jackson, Jefferson, Osage, Shawnee and Wabaunsee counties - the jobless rate was 5.4 percent, down slightly from September's 5.5 percent. The area added about 1,000 jobs.
The Wichita are - Butler, Harvey, Sedgwick and Sumner counties - had a 5.7 percent jobless rate, down from 5.9 percent in September and from 5.9 percent in October 2004. The number of unemployed fell by about 400 people for the month.
The Kansas portion of the Kansas City metropolitan area saw its unemployment rate increase slightly to 5.3 percent in October, up from 5.2 percent in September. The region, comprised of Franklin, Johnson, Leavenworth, Linn, Miami and Wyandotte counties, had a jobless rate of 5.6 percent in October 2004. The labor force and employment levels both have declined in year-to-year comparisons.