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May labor market similar to April

POSTED June 21, 2012 2:48 p.m.

TOPEKA – The jobless rate in Barton County ticked upward slightly from April to May, while the statewide rate remained flat, the Kansas Department of Labor reported this week. The May 2012 Labor Report showed a 1 percent increase in private sector jobs since May 2011.
 Kansas gained 10,800 private sector jobs since May 2011, or 1 percent. Since April 2012, Kansas gained 5,200 private sector jobs, or 0.5 percent. These monthly increases were mostly because of seasonal changes.
 “The good news in this labor report is that we are markedly improved relative to last year,” Karin Brownlee, Kansas Secretary of Labor, said. “Looking from month to month, we seem to be singing ‘second verse, same as the first’ as the changes are very minor.”
 The unemployment rate in Kansas was 5.8 percent in May, the same as April and down from 6.5 percent in May 2011. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.1 percent, unchanged from April and down from 6.7 percent one year ago.
Of a total statewide workforce of 1,491,061, 1,404,111 were employed, the KDOL reported. That left 86,950 without work.
In Barton County, rate was 4.2. Out of an available labor pool of 16,431, 15,745 were working, leaving 686 jobless.
Last month, the rate was 4.0 with 15,640 out of 16,297 working, leaving 657 unemployed. In May of 2011, the Barton County rate was 4.8 and 768 were out of work.
“Kansas experienced little change in the labor market from April to May. The number of nonfarm jobs has remained basically flat for the fourth consecutive month. This is a trend that is also apparent in the public sector as budget considerations continue to weigh on local, state and federal government,” Tyler Tenbrink, Labor Economist, said.
 Nine of the 11 major industries reported job gains since the April Labor Report. Government added 2,100 jobs, or 0.8 percent, mostly because of seasonal hiring at the local level. Leisure and hospitality gained 1,600 jobs, a 1.4 percent increase. Two of the major industries reported losses the past month. Other services as well as mining and logging both experienced a 1.1 percent decline.
 Five of the major industries have seen gains since May 2011. Professional and business services gained 7,900 jobs, a 5.3 percent increase. Manufacturing gained 4,200 jobs or 2.6 percent. Education and health services increased by 2,200 jobs, a 1.2 percent growth. Six industries saw job losses throughout the year. The industry that lost the most jobs since May 2011 was government.
 Continued unemployment claims in May 2012 were down from both April 2012 and May 2011. Initial claims were up from April but down from one year ago.
 The June 2012 Labor Report will be released on July 20.

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