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Local jobless rates climb slightly
Statewide, Kansas sees third month of unemployment declines
jobless map

TOPEKA – Statewide, Kansas unemployment numbers declined in July for the third month in a row. However, regionally, jobless rates crept up slightly, according to preliminary estimates reported by the Labor Market Information Services division of the Kansas Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday morning.

They show a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 7.2 percent in July for Kansas. This was a decrease from 7.5 percent in June and an increase from 3.1 percent in July 2019. 

But, in Barton County, the rate was 5.7%, up from 5.2 in June and from 3.4 in July 2019. Broken down even more, of a civilian labor force of 14,263, 816 were without a job.

“It’s encouraging to see the unemployment rate drop for the third month in a row, falling to 7.2 percent,” said Acting Secretary Ryan Wright. “While the number of unemployed decreased by more than 4,000 over the month, the current unemployment level remains around 64,000 more than the March low of 42,644.” 

These numbers include nonfarm jobs and labor force estimates for July. Data collected for this report references the week including July 12. 

Reopening decisions were transferred to local officials on May 26. Counties following the Ad Astra Plan to Reopen Kansas moved to Phase 3 on June 8, with recommendations to remain in Phase 3 issued on July 6.

Seasonally adjusted job estimates indicate total Kansas nonfarm jobs increased by 10,000 from June. Private sector jobs, a subset of total nonfarm jobs, increased by 6,800 from the previous month, while government increased by 3,200.  

“The July nonfarm jobs total for Kansas was 1,355,000. Kansas gained 10,000 jobs over the month, mainly in accommodation and food services and local government,” said Labor Economist Emilie Doerksen. “Total nonfarm job estimates remain 68,000 lower than this time last year, with manufacturing and leisure and hospitality accounting for nearly 30,000 of that decline.” 

Since July 2019, Kansas seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs have declined by 68,000. This change is due to a decrease of 56,400 private sector jobs and 11,600 government jobs. 

BLS revised seasonally adjusted preliminary total nonfarm jobs estimates for June upward by 900 jobs, from 1,344,100 to 1,345,000. Seasonally adjusted private sector jobs were revised upward by 3,100 jobs, from 1,097,400 to 1,100,500.

Nationally, the unemployment rate fell by 0.9 percentage point over the month to 10.2% but was 6.5 points higher than in July 2019, the BLS reported Friday.

Unemployment rates were lower in July in 30 states, higher in nine states, and stable in 11 states and the District of Columbia. All 50 states and the District had jobless rate increases from a year earlier.

Additional resources for affected workers and employers may be found at the Kansas Department of Labor’s website: and 

The August 2020 Labor Report will be released on Friday, Sept. 18. 

Area unemployment rates 

July 2020

• Barton County, 5.7%

• Ellsworth County, 4.2%

• Pawnee County, 4.8%

• Rice County, 6.0%

• Rush County, 5.1%

• Russell County, 5.6%

• Stafford County, 5.2%

June 2020

• Barton County, 5.2%

• Ellsworth County, 3.4%

• Pawnee County, 4.2%

• Rice County, 4.4%

• Rush County, 5.0%

• Russell County, 5.5%

• Stafford County, 4.7%

July 2019

• Barton County, 3.4%

• Ellsworth County, 3.9%

• Pawnee County, 3.0%

• Rice County, 3.2%

• Rush County, 3.1%

• Russell County, 3.3%

• Stafford County, 3.6%