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Kansas Jobless Rate Holds at 2.9% in April, Unchanged Since November


By Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector


TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas unemployment rate remained at 2.9% in April despite a hiring uptick of 300 in government positions and decline of 500 people holding private-sector jobs.

The Kansas Department of Labor and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday the estimate of joblessness held at the 2.9% level reported each month since November. Metropolitan areas in Kansas experienced slight declines in April, which the Kansas City market dipping to 2.8%.

Kansas’ rate surged in April 2020 at outset of the COVID-19 pandemic to 12.4%, but retreated to 3.5% in April 2021. In April 2022, the rate stood at 2.4%.

In the most recent 12-month period, the number of seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs — a combination of private sector and government employment — increased in the state by 32,100. The majority of that growth, nearly 28,000 jobs, was in the private sector.

State labor department economist Nathan Kessler said average hourly earnings for the private sector in Kansas had climbed 3.8% from April 2022 to April 2023.

“Although inflation continues to grow faster than hourly earnings in the private sector,” Kessler said, “several industries have experienced growth in real wages, most notably manufacturing and leisure and hospitality.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said Kansas had 1.47 million employed residents and 44,000 unemployed residents.