As college graduates prepare to enter the real world, the Lawrence area's job market is growing even as unemployment shrinks, according to a new report.
The Lawrence area's unemployment rate was 3.4 percent in April, down from 4 percent a month earlier and from 3.8 percent in April 2005, the Kansas Department of Labor said Friday.
The decrease came as the Lawrence metro area, defined as all of Douglas County, added 600 nonfarm jobs during the past year, with a total of 60,868 people employed and 2,145 left out of work.
The statewide unemployment rate for April was 4.2 percent, down from 4.9 percent in March and 4.8 percent a year earlier. The state added 6,500 jobs during the past year, 4,200 of them in construction.
The rate of increase in construction employment, 6.7 percent, more than doubled the nationwide rate of 3.3 percent during the same period, the department said.
"We're now starting to see some industry sectors outpace the national average, which is always encouraging," said Jim Garner, secretary of labor.
In Lawrence, many of the job gains during the past year came in the service industry, according to data compiled by the department. Here is a rundown for April employment by service sector, and change from April 2005:
¢ Professional and business services: 4,200 jobs, up 300, or 7.7 percent.
¢ Leisure and hospitality: 6,500, up 300, or 4.8 percent.
¢ Trade, transportation and utilities: 8,200 jobs, up 200, or 2.5 percent.
¢ Educational and health services: 6,300, down 100, or 1.6 percent.
¢ Government, 14,400, down 200, or 1.4 percent.
Here are unemployment rates for the state's major metro areas during April, with comparisons to rates from a month earlier and from April 2005, according to the Kansas Department of Labor: ¢ Lawrence: 3.4 percent, down from 4 percent and 3.8 percent. ¢ Topeka: 4.5 percent, down from 5.3 percent and 5.1 percent. ¢ Kansas City: 4.4 percent, down from 5.2 percent and 5.2 percent. ¢ Wichita: 4.7 percent, down from 5.3 percent and 5.2 percent.