Kansas unemployment rate dips amid lackluster job growth

The Kansas economy gained far fewer jobs than normal in April, but the unemployment rate still went down a tenth of a point to 3.8 percent, the Kansas Department of Labor reported.

April is usually a time when the economy adds jobs in areas such as construction, leisure and hospitality, and outdoor lawn and garden activities, said Tyler Tenbrink, a labor market economist at the department.

On a straight head-count basis, the state gained 9,100 non-farm jobs during the month. But that was about 3,700 fewer jobs than the historic average for the month of April.

The biggest job gains in April were in professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality. There was no change in employment numbers in manufacturing or the mining sector, which includes oil and gas production.

Over the past 12 months, the state saw a net loss of 2,900 non-farm jobs, including 1,600 jobs in the private sector.

“Service providing industries have shown growth, but these increases continue to be offset by losses in Mining and Construction,” said labor economist Emilie Doerksen.

There were about 4,300 fewer construction jobs in April than a year ago and 1,300 fewer public-sector jobs. The biggest gains over the year were in manufacturing and leisure and hospitality, each of which added about 1,500 jobs statewide.

The Lawrence-area economy added about 230 jobs over the month, and 300 fewer people were counted as unemployed, lowering the local unemployment rate to 2.9 percent.

The Manhattan metropolitan area, at 2.6 percent, had the lowest unemployment rate in Kansas. The Wichita area had the highest jobless rate, at 3.8 percent.

On the Kansas side of the Kansas City metropolitan area, the jobless rate was 3.2 percent. The Topeka area posted a 3.4 percent jobless rate.