By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Loss in oilfield jobs hits local unemployment numbers
new deh labor department secretary lana gordon
Lana Gordon

 Area seasonably adjusted unemployment numbers:

March 2016

Barton County 4.8

Ellsworth 4.3

Pawnee 3.7

Rice 3.9

Rush 4.5

Russell 4.4

Stafford 3.9

February 2016

Barton County 5.2

Ellsworth 4.3

Rice 4.1

Rush 4.5

Russell 4.9

Pawnee 3.9

March 2015

Barton County 4.1

Ellsworth 3.3

Rice 3.8

Rush 3.8

Russell 4.0

Pawnee 3.9

Stafford 4.0

 TOPEKA – Statewide, the  March seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, down from 4.0 percent in February and from 4.3 percent in March 2015.

But in Barton County, the rate was 4.8 for March, down from 5.2, but up from 4.1 a year ago. “For the past couple of years, the Barton County rate has been creeping up,” said Tyler Tenbrink, senior labor economist, Kansas Department of Labor.

The jobless rate is derived by dividing the number of unemployed by the total labor force. Barton County has seen an increased in unemployed people and a decrease in number employed people, he said.

Tenbrink looked back to late 2013 when there was a spike in construction jobs. However, that number started to fall from 2014 into early 2015 to 700, which is more normal.

However, there was a second whammy. In that same time frame, the number oil and gas extraction jobs plummeted from 882 to 600.

“Barton County has been impacted more than the rest of the state in terms of construction and oil and gas,” Tenbrink said.


“The Kansas unemployment picture remains positive this month,” said Kansas Secretary of Labor, Lana Gordon. “The rate dropped to 3.9 percent, and there are 22,774 more Kansans working compared to last year.”

Data is seasonally adjusted to remove the impact of regular events that occur at the same time every year such as the effect of cold weather on outdoor activities, the Christmas holiday or the summer influx of youth into the labor market.

The preliminary seasonally adjusted job estimates from the Kansas Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate Kansas nonfarm jobs increased by 2,500 from February. Since last month, Kansas private sector jobs increased by 1,900. The largest private sector over the month job increase was in Trade, Transportation and Utilities.

Kansas seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs remained unchanged over the year. Kansas gained 800 private sector jobs since March 2015.

Kansas not seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs decreased by 1,600, a 0.1 percent decrease since March 2015. Not seasonally adjusted figures show Kansas lost 1,700 private sector jobs since last year, or 0.2 percent. The state gained 9,300 total not seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs over the month, or 0.7 percent. Since February, not seasonally adjusted private sector jobs increased by 7,200, or 0.6 percent.

Private sector average weekly hours decreased by 1.1 hours, or 3.2 percent, since last March, to a total of 33.5 hours.

“Employers in the State scheduled fewer hours for their existing workers in March when compared to last year. Employers make short term adjustments to schedules based on demand for the goods and services they produce,” Tenbrink said. “In the long-term, employers adjust hours based on factors such as cost of labor, benefits, and labor productivity.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics revised seasonally adjusted preliminary total nonfarm job estimates for February upward by 400 jobs, from 1,395,900 to 1,396,300. Seasonally adjusted private sector jobs were revised upwards by 300 jobs, from 1,140,300 to 1,140,600.

Seasonally adjusted estimates for March show that the State’s labor force declined by 486 to 1,512,718. 

Of those in the labor force, 1,452,997 Kansans were employed and 59,721 were unemployed. This month’s net change in the labor force was attributable to 270 more Kansans counted as employed and 756 fewer unemployed.

Over the year, the labor force expanded by 18,948 persons, with an increase of 22,774 in employment and a decrease of 3,826 in unemployment.

The labor force participation rate was 68.3 percent, unchanged from February and up from 67.8 percent last March.

The April 2016 Labor Report will be released on Friday, May 20.