By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Jobless recovery continues
Barton County lower than state average
unemployment map
This map provided by the Kansas Department of Labor shows the unemployment figures across the state for April.

Area unemployment rates

April 2021

• Barton County, 2.8%

• Ellsworth County, 2.2%

• Pawnee County, 2.2%

• Rice County, 2.4%

• Rush County, 2.2%

• Russell County, 2.4%

• Stafford County, 2.3%

March 2021

• Barton County, 3.3%

• Ellsworth County, 2.8%

• Pawnee County, 2.8%

• Rice County, 2.9%

• Rush County, 3.0%

• Russell County, 2.8%

• Stafford County, 2.7%

April 2020

• Barton County, 7.7%

• Ellsworth County, 4.6%

• Pawnee County, 5.1%

• Rice County, 6.7%

• Rush County, 8.8%

• Stafford County, 5.3%

TOPEKA – The jobless rate in Kansas continued inching down in April, with over half of the jobs lost to the COVID-19 economic slump having been recovered, state economists noted in the April unemployment figures released Friday.

Preliminary estimates reported by the Labor Market Information Services division of the Kansas Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics show a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.5% in April. This was a decrease from 3.7% in March and a decrease from 12.6% in April 2020.

In Barton County, the April rate was 2.8%. Out of a civilian workforce of 13,213, 12,840 were employed with 373 out of work.

In March, the rate was 3.3% in the county. In April 2020, it was 7.7%.

“We’ve seen significant improvement in the unemployment rate throughout the past year, from a historic high of 12.6% in April 2020, down to 3.5% just 12 months later,” said Kansas Labor Secretary Amber Shultz. “Great progress is being made as we are approaching pre-pandemic unemployment rates.” 

Seasonally adjusted job estimates indicate total Kansas nonfarm jobs decreased by 1,400 from March. Private sector jobs, a subset of total nonfarm jobs, decreased by 1,300 from the previous month, while government decreased by 100.

“Over the past year Kansas has recovered more than 64% of the 158,000 jobs lost in March and April of 2020,” said Labor economist Todd Rilinger. “The leisure and hospitality industry, which saw the largest losses last year, added 500 jobs in April 2021. This brings the total jobs recovered for the industry to more than 73 percent.”

Since April 2020, Kansas seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs have increased by 101,600. This change is due to an increase of 103,800 private sector jobs and a decrease of 2,200 government jobs.

BLS revised seasonally adjusted preliminary total nonfarm jobs estimates for March upward by 800 jobs, from 1,373,000 to 1,373,800. Seasonally adjusted private sector jobs were also revised upward by 600 jobs, from 1,126,200 to 1,126,800.

Since March 15, KDOL has paid out over 4.5 million weekly claims totaling over $2.9 billion between regular unemployment and the federal pandemic programs.  

Looking nationally, the BLS reported Friday the unemployment rate, 6.1%, was little changed over the month, but was 8.7% points lower than in April 2020.

According to the BLS,  rates were lower in April in 12 states and the District of Columbia and stable in 38 states. Forty-eight states and the District had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier and two states had little change.

Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 9 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 2 states, and was essentially unchanged in 39 states in April 2021. Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased in all states and the District.

Amber Shultz
Amber Shultz