State and federal agencies reported the Kansas unemployment rate dropped in November to 3.6%, a reduction from 3.9% in September and October. Joblessness at outset of the COVID-19 pandemic was 12.6% in April 2020. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)
TOPEKA — The unemployment rate in Kansas stood at 3.6% in November, a rebound from a trend that nudged the percentage higher since May and an improvement over the November 2020 calculation, officials said Friday.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Kansas Department of Labor reported the state’s jobless figure reversed course from 3.9% in September and October. Before escalating in the second half of 2021, the rate held at 3.5% in April and May. One year ago during November 2020, the report said, 4.7% of Kansans were out of work.
“The largest over-the-month job gains in November were in trade, transportation and utilities, as well as leisure and hospitality,” said Emilie Doerksen, an economist at the state Department of Labor. “Both of these industries experienced significant declines early in the pandemic, but have seen a steady recovery since April 2020.”
The seasonally adjusted estimate for nonfarm jobs in Kansas showed an increase of 2,700 from October. The number of private-sector jobs, which is part of the nonfarm metric, climbed 2,400 from October to November.
The Department of Labor and the Bureau of Statistics said nonfarm jobs in Kansas had grown 35,400 since November 2020. At the same time, the agencies said, Kansas reported 54,000 people in the labor force were without a job.
At outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the state experienced a surge in joblessness that reached 12.6%. During 2021, Kansas’ rate has drifted between 3.4% and 3.9%. It hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels of 3.2% experienced in January and February 2020.
In the past year, the five-county Wichita area lowered an unemployment rate of 5.9% in November 2020 to 3.5% this November. Other zones: Topeka (five counties) 4% to 2.5%; Kansas City (five counties), 3.8% to 2.4%; Manhattan (two counties), 3.4% to 2.2%; and Lawrence (one county), 4.2% to 2.3 percent.
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