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Kansas Unemployment Rate Slides to 2.8% in June, Breaking Seven-Month Freeze at 2.9%


By Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector


TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas unemployment rate dipped to 2.8% during June to equal a mark last achieved nearly one year ago, officials said Friday.

“After remaining unchanged for seven consecutive months, the Kansas unemployment rate declined in June to end the second quarter at 2.8%,” said Amber Shultz, secretary of the Kansas Department of Labor. “This is an increase from 2.6% one year ago, but is still one of the lowest unemployment rates recorded in the state of Kansas.”

The jobless report for June combined surveys of employers and households through a collaboration of the state Department of Labor and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The report for Kansas showed the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 2.8% last month, which was a decline from the 2.9% sustained from November 2022 until May. The state last recorded a figure of 2.8% in August 2022.

The COVID-19 pandemic shocked the state’s economy and pushed unemployment to 12.4% in April 2020. It gradually declined before bottoming out at 2.4% from February 2022 to April 2022.

Since October 2021, Kansas has recorded a rate higher than 2.9% in only one month — the 3% set in October 2022.

The June report showed total nonfarm employment, which covers the private sector and government workers, climbed by 1,000 from May. Government jobs accounted for 700 of those jobs, with the remainder produced in the private sector.

In the past year, officials said, the number of nonfarm jobs in Kansas has grown by 31,900. The shift was driven by expansion of 27,200 private-sector workers.

Nathan Kessler, an economist at the state Department of Labor, said average hourly earnings in the state’s private sector grew 2.3% from June 2022 to June while the pace of inflation rate increases slowed.

“While they remain above the Federal Reserve target,” Kessler said, “inflation rates are now more aligned with wage growth compared to much of the past 18 months.”