By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Virus hits state’s jobless rate
Rate climbs from 2.9 to 7.7 in Barton County
department of labor

TOPEKA – The anticipated impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state’s jobless numbers has arrived, according to preliminary estimates from the Kansas Labor Department released Friday. Seasonally adjusted unemployment skyrocketed from 2.8% in March to 11.2% for April, data from the KDL Labor Market Information Services division and the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows.  It is also an increase from 3.2% in April 2019. 

Barton County fared a little better than the state as a whole, recording a jobless rate of 7.7% – out of a labor force of 13,659, 1,046 were without work. 

This is up from 2.9% in March and 2.9% in April 2019. 

The state’s highest unemployment numbers were reported in: Sedgwick County, with Wichita and its aircraft industry, at 18.7%; Wilson County, in southeast Kansas, at 18.6%; and Sumner County, just south of Sedgwick County, at 17.5%. There were other hard-hit counties surrounding Wichita, and in the southeast and northeast corners of the state.

Statewide, the civilian workforce comes in at 1,496,898 for April. Of those, 168,317 were unemployed.

“The unemployment rate in Kansas increased significantly from a historical low of 2.8% in March to a series high of 11.2% in April as workers across Kansas felt the effects of COVID-19 on the labor market,” said Secretary Delía García. “The United States unemployment rate also reached a series high, increasing to 14.7% in April.”      

Seasonally adjusted job estimates indicate total Kansas nonfarm jobs decreased by 130,400 from March. Private sector jobs, a subset of total nonfarm jobs, decreased by 121,600 from the previous month, while government decreased by 8,800 jobs.   

“April estimates reflect the impact of efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Job estimates fell by 130,400 over the month with reductions in the number of jobs for all major sectors,” said Labor Economist, Emilie Doerksen. “The leisure and hospitality sector saw a particularly sharp decline, accounting for 50,200 out of the total decrease since March.” 

Since April 2019, Kansas seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs have declined by 133,200. This change is due to a decrease of 125,500 private sector jobs and 7,700 government jobs. 

BLS revised seasonally adjusted preliminary total nonfarm jobs estimates for March down by 5,500 jobs, from 1,428,400 to 1,422,900. Seasonally adjusted private sector jobs were revised down by 5,900 jobs, from 1,168,000 to 1,162,100. 

Nationally, unemployment rates were higher in April in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the BLS reported Friday. Similarly, all 50 states and the District had jobless rate increases from a year earlier.

The national unemployment rate rose by 10.3 percentage points over the month to 14.7 percent and was 11.1 points higher than in April 2019.

The May 2020 Labor Report will be released on Friday, June 19.