Jobless rate drops     in Kansas in May

Preliminary estimates reported by the Labor Market Information Services division of the Kansas Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics show a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 10% in May. This was a decrease from 11.9% in April and an increase from 3.1% in May 2019.

“During Gov. (Laura) Kelly’s response to stop the spread of COVID-19, preliminary estimates show Kansas took a step in the right direction in May,” Secretary Delía García said in a prepared statement. “The unemployment rate in Kansas fell nearly two percentage points from 11.9% in April to 10% in May and the state gained over 24,000 jobs compared to last month. This follows historic job losses seen across the nation in March and April due to COVID-19.”

Garcia resigned Sunday and Gov. Kelly appointed her deputy chief of staff, Ryan Wright, as acting secretary.

The state’s unadjusted unemployment rate for May was 9.8%, down from 11.7% in April and 3% in May 2019. The unemployment rate was based on a workforce of 1,498,065 people, 147,268 of whom were jobless. 

Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools and other seasonal events from an economic time series. KDOL uses the adjustment to try to more accurately report the economic picture of the state.

In Labette County, the Department of Labor estimated a workforce of 9,947 people, 801 of whom were jobless for an unemployment rate of 8.1% last month, down from 8.2% in April and 3.9% in May 2019. The state does not calculate seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for individual counties.

Seasonally adjusted job estimates indicate total Kansas nonfarm jobs increased by 24,200 from April. Private-sector jobs, a subset of total nonfarm jobs, increased by 29,500 from the previous month, while government decreased by 5,300 jobs.

“Preliminary May estimates released today show Kansas gained back 17% of the jobs lost in March and April due to efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19,” Senior Labor Economist Tyler Tenbrink said in the statement. “The reference period for the payroll survey was the pay period including the 12th of May. During this time, Kansas was in Phase One of Gov. Kelly’s reopening plan.”

Since May 2019, Kansas seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs have declined by 110,100. This change is due to a decrease of 94,900 private-sector jobs and 15,200 government jobs.

The five Kansas counties surrounding Labette County also saw significant drops in unemployment.

Cherokee County had an estimated workforce of 10,194 people last month, with 895 jobless, for an unemployment rate of 8.8%, down from 10.4% in April and up from 3.4% in May 2019.

Crawford County had an estimated workforce of 19,052 people last month, with 1,584 jobless, for an unemployment rate of 8.3%, down from 9% in April and up from 3.7% in May 2019.

Montgomery County had an estimated workforce of 14,982 people last month, with 1,640 jobless, for an unemployment rate of 10.9%, down from 13.4% in April and up from 3.8% in May 2019.

Neosho County had an estimated workforce of 6,134 people last month, with 554 jobless, for an unemployment rate of 9%, down from 10.1% in April and up from 4.3% in May 2019.

Wilson County had an estimated workforce of 4,056 people last month, with 395 jobless, for an unemployment rate of 9.7%, down from 18.7% in April and up from 3.8% in May 2019.

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