The Kansas jobless rate decreased in December, in part because of the unseasonably warm weather, officials said.
The December unemployment rate was 5.9 percent, down from 6 percent in November and 6.4 percent in December 2010. The seasonally adjusted rate was 6.3 percent in December, down from 6.5 percent in November, and 6.8 percent in December 2010.
The unemployment rate for Douglas County was 5 percent in December, down from 5.3 percent in November and 5.6 percent in December 2010. The national unemployment rate was 8.5 percent in December.
“The continued steady decline in the Kansas unemployment rate is positive news, as is the over-the-year private sector job growth. As we start a new year, we would all hope for these trends to accelerate at a faster pace,” said Kansas Secretary of Labor Karin Brownlee. Kansas has gained 12,000 private sector jobs since December 2010, the Labor Department said.
“Employment levels were pushed up in December partly by favorable weather conditions which allowed construction activity to remain elevated through the end of the year, and partly by an increase in federal government hiring. This helped offset lackluster increases in retail trade during the holiday season,” said Tyler Tenbrink, a state labor economist.
There were 23,985 initial claims for unemployment benefits in December, up from 18,283 initial claims in November and down from 27,889 in December 2010. There were 188,082 continued claims in December, up from 182,778 in November and down from 229,788 in December 2010.