Topeka — The state recorded an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent for October, but the worsening economy is expected to depress future job growth, the Kansas Department of Labor reported Friday.
“With the nation’s economy continuing to weaken, people are spending less,” said Labor Department analyst Tyler Tenbrink. “That is shown in the dramatic decline of national retail sales in the past few months.
“The continuance of this trend can be expected to suppress holiday shopping activity to some extent. This may continue to slow future employment growth in Kansas.”
The Kansas jobless rate of 4.5 percent for October was less than the 4.8 percent rate of September but up from 3.6 percent in October 2007.
The state rate remains below the national jobless rate of 6.1 percent. Douglas County outperformed the state and nation with an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent.
Kansas businesses have gained 8,600 jobs in the last year, while government added 7,900 jobs, the Labor Department reported. Most of those government jobs were at the local level of government.
Several major job sectors reported losses, such as manufacturing, construction and financial activities.
And the number of initial claims for unemployment compensation in October was up sharply to 17,296, an increase of 4,593 from September, the Labor Department said.
The Labor Department warned callers to its unemployment call center that they would face an average waiting time of 30 minutes. The department said it is receiving numerous inquiries about extended unemployment compensation benefits. President Bush on Friday signed into law a measure that will provide up to three months of extra benefits for those whose unemployment benefits have run out or are about to expire.