Archive for Thursday, October 18, 2012

Statehouse Live: State unemployment rate drops to nearly four-year low

October 18, 2012


— The state unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level in nearly four years, the Kansas Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.9 percent for September, a decrease from 6.2 percent in August and 6.7 percent in September 2011. It is the first time the rate has fallen under 6 percent since December 2008.

"The number of people who returned to work in September is very encouraging and the decreasing unemployment rate is a very positive sign for Kansans," said Interim Labor Secretary Lana Gordon.

Tyler Tenbrink, a Labor Department economist, said the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in 45 months. "This improvement was caused by approximately 5,000 people moving from unemployed to employed over the month," Tenbrink said.


sierraclub 5 years, 7 months ago

Thank GOD!!! I guess that CHANGE is working in Kansas!

Mike1949 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm not jumping to any conclusions just yet. How many people are no longer getting unemployment because it has ran out? That would take them off the roles also as it has in the past 20 years!

HutchSaltHawk 5 years, 7 months ago

or how many people have moved because they don't like the Republican stranglehold on this state?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 7 months ago

Rightwingers don't hate America... I would bet many of them have zero use for moochers!

Brock Masters 5 years, 7 months ago

Thank you Sam for creating an environment where business can flourish and hire workers.

nuts 5 years, 7 months ago

Brownback's tax policies/cuts don't go into effect until the first of the year. Therefore, few, if any, of his policies are currently impacting these employment numbers.

rtwngr 5 years, 7 months ago

Well, Einstein, has it occurred to you that because of the upcoming tax policies that businesses have decided to start hiring and growing their businesses because they are dealing with and air of certainty in the future. They are investing in their businesses again because of favorable tax treatment. Maybe you should have showed up for Econ 101 instead of hitting that beer bong. Liberal, partisan hacks, such as yourself, will never acknowledge that redistribution does not work because, eventually, you run out of the person's money that you are taking it from.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Business owners I have asked have responded that they don't base their hiring and business practices on taxes, but on demand.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Please stop responding to my posts.

I believe I've asked you before.

tomatogrower 5 years, 7 months ago

I thought government doesn't create jobs? Maybe it was the national policies of Obama. And direct evidence that it was Brownback's policies?

rtwngr 5 years, 7 months ago

You thought correctly. You should go stand with "nuts" in the corner with the dunce cap on your head though. What Governor Brownback did was get government out of the way. These jobs are being created by private enterprise. These are not stimulus, shovel ready jobs (which there weren't as many as we thought, yuk, yuk) but jobs created by businesses investing in themselves because they have some hold on what the future brings in the way of taxes and income gains. Econ 101 not Sol Alinsky 1969.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

See DT's numbers.

The drop in unemployment rate is due solely to the drop in the size of the labor force. In fact, there are fewer people employed this year than last year at this time.

So there aren't any "new jobs" being created.

63BC 5 years, 7 months ago

It's Brownback's fault!


orbiter 5 years, 7 months ago

It Obama's fault!


(see, we can all be ridiculous)

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

And those that blindly refuse to accept it because he doesn't like the governor.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

"Need I say more?"

If I recall, you tend to be a leftist and will say the numbers are wrong because we don't have a democrat governor. You don't need to say anything more unless I have you confused with bea or cait.

5 years, 7 months ago

"I think this issue is all about a manipulation of numbers and stats. "

Of course it is. If you take the state unemployment numbers here: And weight them for population here:

You'll find that the national unemployment rate ought to be right around 8.35%.

So either the states are reporting numbers that are too high, or the Feds are reporting numbers that are too low. Take your pick.

rtwngr 5 years, 7 months ago

Look at the people now happily accepting a paycheck.

nuts 5 years, 7 months ago

Brownback's tax policies/cuts don't go into effect until the first of the year. Therefore, few, if any, of his policies are currently impacting these employment numbers.

5 years, 7 months ago

The soft bigotry of low expectations.

question4u 5 years, 7 months ago

September unemployment rates fell in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Illinois, Washington, Kentucky, Missouri, Colorado...

Missouri's unemployment rate is the lowest since Dec. 2008 (and Flim-Flam Sam isn't governor there). New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Illinois, and Washington aren't red states by any stretch of the imagination.

The same people who immediately rejected the latest national unemployment numbers now accept the Kansas numbers without question. So, somehow the national unemployment rate didn't drop but a lot of state unemployment rates did. Well, in Brownbackistan backwards land logic doesn't apply.

63BC 5 years, 7 months ago

You mentioned nine states.

Here are their unemployment rates according to today's data:

New York---8.9%

New Jersey---9.8%


Rhode Island---10.5%






Kansas is better than all of them---5.9%

PS Eight of those nine states have Democratic Governors


deec 5 years, 7 months ago

States with highest unemployment include Nevada @12.1%,

Rhode Island @10.7%. Both have Republican governors.

Next is California @10.6% with a Democratic governor.

Rounding out the top 10 are New Jersey, GOP leader,

North Carolina, Democrat,

South Carolina, GOP,

Michigan, GOP,

Georgia, Democrat,

New York, Democrat,

and Mississippi, GOP

So 60% of the states with the worst unemployment rate have Republican Governors. More facts.

63BC 5 years, 7 months ago

In the aggregate, using all data, states with Republican Governors have on average lower unemployment than states with Democratic Governors---close to a full percentage point lower, as fact-checked by CNN.

A quick check of the governors' party affiliations shows 29 states with GOP governors, 20 states with Democratic governors, and one state headed by an independent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' preliminary, seasonally adjusted data for July 2012, 7.84% of the civilian labor in the 29 states with Republican governors were unemployed (6,680,400 out of 85,155,600). The same data set shows that 8.77% of the 20 states with Democratic governors were unemployed (6,032,500 out of 68,792,500). The national unemployment rate was 8.3%

parrothead8 5 years, 7 months ago

So you're saying that 8 out of 9 states with declining unemployment rates have Democratic governors? Impressive.

nuts 5 years, 7 months ago

Facts: Kansas had a lower peak unemployment rate during the recession than those states, thus we have a shorter distance to go to get back below 6%. Economic cycles tend to be relatively long. Meaning that we likely won't see the economic impact of Brownback's policies for a few years if not longer. It is inconceavable to believe that tax policies signed into law but not yet in effect would have near immediate economic impact.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 7 months ago

Just think...had Brownback not laid off so many state employees the rate would be even lower.

5 years, 7 months ago

How many state employees is that, JayhawkFan1985? I read about 85 people at DoL, a few more at SRS (many of which positions were re-filled) and 2,000 empty jobs permanently eliminated.

So give us the numbers. How many people has Sam laid off and what would be the rate if he had not?

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like you already know what the numbers are. We've already read them in the JW in past issues. No need for me to look them up. I know KDOT laid off 40 and Ks dept of Commerce laid off 18. You're right about the vacant positions being eliminated. I would think you were smart enough to know with even just 1 job being filled that fuhrer Brownback laid off the rate would be lower.

paulveer 5 years, 7 months ago

NV, count your thumbs-up compared to riverdrifter

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 7 months ago

Big Toe that is not a productive comment. Why shouldn't we stay here and try to make things better? If you want to live in a low tax no service country, why don't you move to Afganistan or libya or Granada or just about any other 3rd world country and stop trying to make the rest of us live in one...

5 years, 7 months ago

" The right have crushed Unions and the livable wages that came with them. "

Technology crushed Unions. From the beginning of the 19th Century to the 1970s, technology favored big - big companies, big labor, big government. Because mass manufacturing allowed people with no skills to add value to products, and because large, expensive, and immobile investments in plant could be held hostage to threats of violence, unions thrived. They could coerce above-market wages for what was relatively unskilled work.

However, the introduction of the microchip and then the micro computer reversed that trend. Now economies of scale are falling - small, agile companies are able to operate where only large ones could before. Small, agile companies with small investments in plant and place are relatively immune to the coercion of unions. Computers also individualize work rather than generalizing it, which means that low-skill labor can no longer compete with higher skill labor. Low-skill, high-cost, repetitive labor was an obvious target for automation. Technology made it possible.

All of this happened, and continues to happen, regardless of who gets elected. The march of technology, not the casting of votes, molds the world and its economies.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

Watch a few dozen episodes of "how it's made" and you'll see what killed unions.

5 years, 7 months ago

" I thought that it was greed"

What you saw at the capital, the drums and the chanting and the call-in-sick-so-I-can-protest, yes, that was greed. It was a futile attempt by industrial-age bureaucrats to extort from taxpayers via politicians above-market wages; to say, "Continue to pay us more than we can get elsewhere, or we will get really nasty."

The wage-pressure and devolution-pressure do not arise from "the right" but from the fact that our 19th-century, imported-from-Prussia public school model is doomed to go the way of all other factory models - it does not provide sufficient value per dollar spent to survive. I don't expect the transition to a new information age education model to be pretty, but the transition will take place nonetheless, drums notwithstanding.

It's not surprising that government unions are the last surviving unions, as government workers are of all workers the least subject to international competition facilitated by low transaction costs. It is far harder to replace a social worker with someone in India, not because they are more valuable, but because they are more tied to place than those workers in private industry who received very good wages for what was in reality unskilled labor. But that is changing. Trends within government always trail trends in the private sector, but they do not fail to trail, so to speak.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

You are perfectly correct and eloquent and speak with authority. Therefore, I must nitpick.

I don't think what we saw among the rank and file in Wisconsin was greed, but instead was envy ginned up by the greedy leaders of the labor unions. Greedy union bosses and their leftist allies were pulling the teacher's strings, but all they had to show was envy.

I can live with greed. I expect greed. Everyone except maybe the Buddhists are greedy to some extent. Envy and jealousy, OTOH, are of the ugliest monsters we usually have a chance to see.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm glad the Kansas unemployment rate went down. Governor Brownback's new tax plan becomes effective in 2014. Has some stimulus for business already happened? How and why did the rate go down?

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

Yes. It happens before the tax cuts, just as carts go before horses.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

The point <---------------------- ---------------------------> you.

paulveer 5 years, 7 months ago

Scott. I appreciate the fair and honest work you always do here. Please ignore the haters (notice this one typically gets almost no "thumbs-up") by his posts. In fact, despite the late hour of my response here, I'll wager that it gets more thumbs-up than the one that attacked you.

Keep up the good work, Scott.

nuts 5 years, 7 months ago

The federal unemployment rate is not compiled using individual state numbers. It is compiled by polling or calling 60,000 households and 120,000 business and asking questions about employment. This is how it has been done for decades. Therefore, the numbers being reported by states, including California, do not impact the federal number.

Chris Phillips 5 years, 7 months ago

Instead of speculating on who is responsible for the increase in employment, why not poll the employers to find out why they are hiring now? Is it tax incentives? Business is getting better and they can afford it now? They found a big pile of money and needed to do something with it?

Obama or Brownback...they will both accept the credit for the increase, and blame the other if it happens to go back down. What will YOU do to keep it going?

geekin_topekan 5 years, 7 months ago

Uh huh. Any numbers from Blowsalot's cabinet should be scrutinized.

Is it possible that 5000 packed the stuff and left town? After Boeing, State employees, Freightquote, ThyssenKrupp Access etc. lost their jobs, who knows how many sought greener pastures?

The Republican's Economic Genocide will always show rosey numbers. Always.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 7 months ago

Ya think this will swing bleeding Kansas over to Obama?? Ha, ha, ha,!!!

Nothing will move the hicks, fools, and clueless Kansans that already are part of the Koch regime in Kansas. Ignorance is bliss and the joy and celebration west of Topeka can be heard nationwide.

tomatogrower 5 years, 7 months ago

I personally think the Kansas unemployment rate and the US unemployment rate has dropped. Whether you can give credit politicians, I highly doubt that. I agree with Romney that government doesn't always create jobs, except for infrastructure projects and government agencies, but ... oh wait, he said he was going to create 12 million jobs. But then he said government doesn't create jobs. Huh? This happens every time I try to agree with Romney. Makes my head spin.

shotgun 5 years, 7 months ago

I can tell you how I personally contributed to the lowering of the Kansas Unemployment Rate, I went back to work in Missouri, where I can earn a decent salary! Kansas sucks, yeah there is a shortage of qualified workers for jobs available in Kansas. Some people do not want to work for peanuts.

So all of you "Conservatives" who think this has something to do with Sam Brownback, allow me to borrow one of your favorite phrases.............Keep drinking the Kool-Aid!

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

Well...... Romney was saying 23 million are out of work. He also said Obama numbers are not right because so many drop from the sources that keep current with the unemployed.

Then again it has been estimated that as many as 20 million became unemployed s a result of the two republican home loan scams. Each time students graduate the unemployed numbers must rise.

When it gets cold unemployment numbers will rise as the seasonal work goes dormant.

I've never been convinced that anyone knows for certain. This matter developed more into a tool for political rhetoric than a matter of substance.

Romney cannot be all that concerned considering the number of jobs his money has sent abroad. His outsourcing history dates back to the Reagan/Bush days.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 7 months ago

Thank you President Obama. The recovery is proceeding.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

25,000 GM jobs were to lost China thanks to Romney and his investor pals one of which happens to be wife Ann. Made at least $15 million perhaps more than $100 million. With jobs disappearing is such large numbers it is hard to imagine unemployment rebounding into employment with any gusto.

Is this one of the tools republicans are using to keep Obama a one term president?

Brownback may be trying to use those companies that moved from the Missouri side to the Kansas side = a little bit bogus. Brownback laid out $47 million tax $$$$ to bribe AMC who then sold out to some chinese vulture capitalists.

Dave Trabert 5 years, 7 months ago

The unemployment rate is calculated from a survey of households (Current Population Survey) , in which residents are asked whether they are employed, unemployed seeking work or unemployed but not seeking work.

The September 2011 survey showed that 1,404,455 people were employed in Kansas and 100,093 were unemployed for a total workforce of 1,504,548. The unemployment rate was therefore 6.7%.

The September 2012 survey showed that 1,396,4636 people were employed in Kansas and 87,416 were unemployed for a total workforce of 1,484,052. The unemployment rate was therefore 5.9%.

The unemployment rate dropped because 20,496 people left the workforce...not because more people found work. In fact, the Current Population Survey showed that employment declined by 7,819 people.

The KDOL press release that reported more people working was referencing Current Employment Statistics, which is a different survey of employers. KDOL reported the unemployment rate from the CPS but didn't disclose that that survey also said employment declined.

In_God_we_trust 5 years, 7 months ago

Now why can't the news media do some research to confirm a government labor report so that honest reporting can be delivered to the public?? Good job!

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

Raw numbers like these are fun to play with. But without additional information, I'm not sure how useful they are.

What happened to all those people? Did they move out of Kansas? Did they take early retirement? Did they become members of an underground economy, working for cash or in a barter system? Were they deported? Did they decide to go back to school?

Were their decisions motivated by policies coming out of Topeka, Washington, both, neither?

And if we're left to guess at the answers to these questions and many more, I suspect there's an answer to every politician's liking. So we can all Odumba or Brownbackistan to our heart's content.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Not so fast.

From the "raw numbers", it's clear that we have fewer people employed in KS, and that the drop in unemployment is caused solely by the drop in the labor force.

So, regardless of what happened to them, it's not the positive thing it would be if we had many more people employed.

It's exactly this sort of raw data that we need more of, to evaluate things like the unemployment rate with any sort of accuracy.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

The numbers indicate a 1% drop in the available workforce. That could be retirement. That could be people who moved to another state. That could be people who gave up on the idea of working or decided to go back to school. That could be people who finally got decent paying jobs, so they no longer had to have two low-wage jobs between the couple. This chart seems to indicate that the available workforce was unusually high recently, so the drop may not be that terrible.

Also - the data is currently all preliminary. It may change.


BLS by chootspa

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

I didn't say it was terrible.

I said that this is the kind of data we need to evaluate the unemployment rate correctly. In this thread above you can find people crowing about all the new jobs, and how great this is.

That's obviously not true, given this data.

Folks retiring or moving to another state are rather different from creating a bunch of new jobs, right?

Your point about two low wage earners becoming one decent one is a good one - I wonder if there's any way to find out about that part of it.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

I totally agree. There are a lot of factors, and we only ever get part of the picture - whichever part somebody with an agenda decides they should let us see.

chootspa 5 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for actually posting something without spin for once.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 7 months ago

How does unemployment compare to the number of positions filled?

5 years, 7 months ago

alcoholbliss: "I hear the arguments being made that the low paying jobs will never come back to the US, right? I guess having people unemployed here, and the top 1% getting richer off of China slavery is far better? "

I hear lots of people drive around town looking for the highest gas price, too. Paying $20 for gas when you could pay $4 makes as much sense as paying $8 for an American when you could pay $1.5 elsewhere. The problem is not that Americans are expensive; plenty of Americans get paid very well. It's that low-skill Americans are expensive compared to low-skill not-Americans. That sucks if you're a low-skill American just as much as it sucks if you're a Lawrence gas station trying to sell $20 gasoline in a $4 market.

But again it comes back to technology. The reduction in transaction costs - whether physical transactions like shipping iPads or virtual ones like tech support - is a long-lived and accelerating technological trend. Neither party will do anything about it and neither party can do anything about it. If one cannot pay some Chinese kid $1.50 an hour to sew Nikes, an $8 American is not the only option: a Mexican can be paid $2 to do it, a Bengli could be paid $3, or a machine can also be invented to do it.

That technology is not going away, and it's going to get worse, at least from the perspective of someone who expects a "living" wage for work that can be done by a Chinese teenager. Politicians could ban trade with China, I suppose, but you'd have to ban it with Mexico, Bangladesh, maybe even Greece. Good luck finding a party to do that. And it also has side-effects best left unexperienced.

The real problem going forward is going to be, do low-skill Americans, given the high price they must command by law, have anything at all to offer to the job market? This is not an insult, it's a huge, huge problem that will have to be faced one way or the other. Ganging up in a shoe-sewers union or a battery-testers union in today's world is not going to work. We must find some other way to ensure that Americans not only have something to offer, but that they have something to offer that is worth what they legally must charge for their labor.

jafs 5 years, 7 months ago

Check DT's post above.

It contains useful and unbiased numbers about unemployment in KS.

If correct, the drop in unemployment stats is caused entirely be a drop in the labor force, and actually there are fewer people employed this year than last.

Dave Trabert 5 years, 7 months ago

If you'd like to see the raw data, go to and select Kansas in the drop-down box. Then select statewide (or regional if you like), click Kansas again and then select the data you want. Finally, select seasonally-adjusted and retrieve data.

Unemployment is calculated as those unemployed (seeking work) divided by the labor force (which is the total of employed and unemployed seeking work.

Dave Trabert 5 years, 7 months ago

employed 35 hours or more is considered full time...less is part time. Unemployed is someone who is not employed but is seeking work. Keep in mind, this is a survey of individuals, so it is based on how survey participants classify themselves.

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