Kansas unemployment stagnates at 2.4%, below US unemployment rate of 3.6%


TOPEKA — Kansas’s unemployment rate hovered at 2.4% in April with more than 35,000 residents in the state looking for jobs, state and federal officials said Friday.

Preliminary estimates from the Kansas Department of Labor and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a 3.5% drop in unemployment in April 2021. The agencies reported that employment in Kansas had reached 1.46 million last month, an increase of 22,900 over the past year.

“While the unemployment rate remained stable at 2.4% during the month, it has seen a significant improvement over the year as more and more Kansans move from unemployment to employment,” said said Amber Shultz, secretary of the state Department of Labor.

Kansas’ neighboring states’ April unemployment rates came in Nebraska, 1.9%; Oklahoma, 2.7%; Missouri, 3.4%; and Colorado, 3.6%.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s campaign, who is running for the Republican Party’s gubernatorial nomination, said Kansas had recovered three-quarters of the jobs lost at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic while the US economy as a whole regained 94% of these jobs. .

The level of non-farm payrolls in Kansas rose by 500 in April, but the expansion was spurred by the addition of 600 government jobs. Gains in some sectors of the state’s economy were mostly offset by declines elsewhere, state labor officials said, including in professional and business services.

“Last month,” Schmidt said, “our state added 600 government jobs but lost 100 private sector jobs. Not good. Kansas needs to develop our state, not our government.

Democratic Governor Laura Kelly, who is seeking re-election in November, campaigned on a message of success in terms of investing in economic development.

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in 2020 under Kelly, the state’s unemployment rate jumped in April 2020 to 12.2%, the number of unemployed skyrocketed to 181,462, and the number of people employed fell to 1.3 million.

After a year in April 2021, Kansas statistics have moderated to an unemployment rate of 3.5%, 51,615 unemployed and 1.44 million employed. The April 2022 report: 2.4% unemployment, 35,374 unemployed and 1.46 million employed.

For comparison, here are the five-year and 10-year retrospective numbers while Republican Gov. Sam Brownback was in office: April 2017 had an unemployment rate of 3.6%, 54,332 unemployed and 1.43 million employed; April 2012 had an unemployment rate of 5.8%, 86,551 unemployed and 1.4 million employed.

Federal officials said U.S. employers added 428,000 jobs in April to cap a year of solid growth and adding to the robust recovery. The U.S. unemployment rate held steady at a pandemic low of 3.6%. Unemployment fell in April in 13 states and the District of Columbia, but remained stable in 37 states.


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