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County jobless rate sees little change
Inflation blamed for keeping wages down
february 2023 labor map
This map provided by the Kansas Department of Labor shows the unemployment figures across the state for February.

Area unemployment rates

February 2023

• Barton County, 3.4%

• Ellsworth County, 3.0%

• Pawnee County, 3.1%

• Rice County, 2.7%

• Rush County, 2.8%

• Russell County, 2.8%

• Stafford County, 2.8%

January 2023

• Barton County, 3.1%

• Ellsworth County, 2.47%

• Pawnee County, 2.6%

• Rice County, 2.5%

• Rush County, 2.3%

• Russell County, 2.5%

• Stafford County, 2.6%

February 2022

• Barton County, 2.6%

• Ellsworth County, 2.2%

• Pawnee County, 2.5%

• Rice County, 2.3%

• Rush County, 2.4%

• Stafford County, 2.2% 

TOPEKA – As inflation suppresses wages in Kansas, the state’s unemployment picture stood pat in February, according to preliminary estimates reported by the Labor Market Information Services division of the Kansas Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The report released Friday shows a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 2.9% in February. This is unchanged from 2.9% in January and an increase from 2.4% in February 2022.

In Barton County, the jobless rate for February was 3.4%, up a tick from 3.1 in January and almost a point up from 2.6 in February 2022. Out of a civilian workforce of 13,171, 12,728 are employed and 443 are jobless.  

Seasonally adjusted job estimates for Kansas indicate total nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 1,500 from January. Total nonfarm includes private sector and government employers. Private sector jobs increased by 1,400 over the month, while government decreased by 2,900.

“Kansas average nominal hourly earnings in the private sector rose 3.1% over the year in February,” said Labor Economist Nathan Kessler. “However, while showing signs of improvement, inflationary pressures continue to weigh on wages with real hourly earnings declining 2.4% over the year.”

Since February 2022, Kansas’s seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs have increased by 41,300. This change is due to an increase of 38,000 private sector jobs and an increase of 3,300 government jobs. 

Nationally, the unemployment rate edged up to 3.6 percent, but was 0.2 percentage points lower than in February 2022, the BLS reported Friday. Unemployment rates were lower in nine states, higher in three states and the District of Columbia, and stable in 38 states.

The unemployment rate in Kansas is based on data collected through the Current Population Survey and estimates produced by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program. The LAUS data is produced in cooperation with the BLS, which means that the same methodology is used for all states. 

In Kansas, data for the number of individuals receiving unemployment insurance benefits is based on administrative data from claimants filing unemployment insurance claims with KDOL. These two measures offer distinct but related measures of trends in joblessness.

The March 2023 labor report will be released on Friday, April 21.