Kansas job growth now exceeding national average

photo by: Kansas Department of Labor

Kansas Department of Labor

TOPEKA — After several years of lagging behind the national average, job growth in Kansas outpaced the nation in June, posting a 1.8 percent increase in jobs compared with a year ago, the Kansas Department of Labor reported Friday.

Overall, the Kansas economy added 24,800 jobs over the year, including 1,900 jobs just since May, the agency reported.

“Current trends in the Kansas labor market are strong,” Kansas Labor Secretary Lana Gordon said in a statement Friday. “Job growth has exceeded the national average and the number of people receiving unemployment benefits is the lowest in ten years.”

The unemployment rate held steady in June, at 3.4 percent.

Friday’s jobs report also indicated the state continues to wrestle with an extremely tight labor market. The total civilian labor force, at 1.4 million, was smaller than it was a year earlier by about 1,500 workers.

Despite that, there was little indication that the tight market was driving up wages. Real hourly earnings were up only 0.1 percent compared with June 2017.

Over the month, the biggest job gains were in the service sector, financial activities and construction. Those were partially offset by job losses in education and health services, leisure and hospitality, information services, the oil and gas sector and manufacturing.

The major metropolitan areas in Kansas all showed sizeable increases in their unemployment rates. However, local rates are not seasonally adjusted as the statewide rate is, and the June rates were not substantially different from a year ago.

The Lawrence metropolitan area posted a 3.6 percent jobless rate, up from 2.9 percent in May, but only slightly higher than the 3.5 percent rate posted in June 2017.

Unemployment in the Topeka metropolitan area rose six-tenths of a point in June, to 3.9 percent.

The Wichita area continued to post the highest jobless rate, at 4.4 percent in June, up from 3.6 percent the month before.

The Kansas side of the Kansas City metropolitan area posted a 3.6 percent jobless rate, up four-tenths of a point from the previous month.

Unemployment in the Manhattan area came in at 3.6 percent, up from 2.7 percent in May.


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