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Jobless rate posts tepid gain
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Non-seasonally adjusted unemployment numbers for surrounding counties:
July 2011 (statewide 6.8 percent)
Ellsworth County – 3.7
Pawnee County – 4.4
Rice County – 5.4
Rush County – 4.6
Russell County – 4.8
Stafford County – 5.8

June 2011 (statewide 6.3 percent)
Ellsworth County – 3.9
Pawnee County – 4.1
Rice County – 4.7
Rush County – 4.2
Russell County – 4.6
Stafford County – 5.3

July 2010 (statewide 6.5 percent)
Ellsworth County – 4.0
Pawnee County – 4.1
Rice County – 4.5
Rush County – 5.0
Russell County – 4.4
Stafford County – 4.4

Continuing a modest fluctuation, the July unemployment rate in Kansas rose to 6.8 percent from 6.7 percent in June, but was down from 7.0 percent in July a year ago, the Kansas Department of Labor reported Thursday.
However, when seasonal factors, such as the closing of schools, were factored in, the seasonally adjusted jobless rate dipped to 6.5 percent, down from 6.6 percent in June 2011 and down from 7.0 percent in July 2010.
Just as Kansas was below the national rate of 9.1 percent, Barton County was below the state rate. The non-adjusted number for Barton County stood at 5 percent in July. It was 4.8 in June and 5.1 in July 2010.
The total civilian workforce in Barton County in July was 16,627, of which 15,789 were employed and 838 were jobless.
 “Private sector jobs continued to grow last month – albeit at a snail’s pace,” said Karin Brownlee, Kansas secretary of labor. “However, we do recognize some encouraging signs in the job gains seen in both the construction and the education and health services areas.”
According to July estimates, Kansas gained 2,400 private sector jobs over the month. Overall however, Kansas lost 18,600 nonfarm jobs over the month, a 1.4 percent decrease.
 “Kansas experienced its second month of very slow growth in private nonfarm jobs, increasing the risk of a stagnant recovery in the labor market,” said Tyler Tenbrink, KDOL labor economist. “This private sector growth has been supported by the education and health services industry adding 7,400 jobs over the year.”
Over the year, Kansas has lost 400 nonfarm jobs, but private sector jobs were up by 1,300 since July 2010.
The KDOL’s monthly report also noted six of the 11 major industries in Kansas reported over-the-month job gains. These gains were greatest in the following areas: Construction gained 2,300 jobs, a 4.1 percent increase; professional and business services gained 1,200 jobs, a 0.8 percent increase; and education and health services gained 1,200 jobs, a 0.7 percent increase.
But, five of the 11 reported statewide losses, including: Government lost 21,000 jobs, an 8.1 percent decline; leisure and hospitality lost 1,700 jobs, a 1.5 percent decline; and other services lost 800 jobs, a 1.6 percent decrease. 
  Four of the 11 boosted over-the-year gains, including:  Education and health services gained 7,400 jobs, a 4.2 percent increase; construction gained 1,100 jobs, a 1.9 percent increase;  and manufacturing gained 1,000 jobs, a 0.6 percent increase.
Seven of the 11 saw statewide over-the-year losses, including: Financial activities lost 2,500 jobs, a 3.5 percent decrease; information lost 2,400 jobs, a 7.8 percent decrease; and leisure and hospitality lost 1,800 jobs, a 1.6 percent decline. 
There were 19,706 initial claims for unemployment benefits in July, up from 18,884 initial claims in June 2011 and down from 23,907 in July 2010. There were 192,155 continued claims in July 2011, down from 195,006 in June 2011 and down from 249,950 in July 2010. These numbers include Regular, Extended Benefit (EB) and Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) claims. EB and EUC benefits are federally funded through 2011.
Nationally, the national jobless  rate was little changed at 9.1 percent but was 0.4 percentage point lower than a   year earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
Kansas was not alone in a subtile shift in unemployment numbers. The BLS noted 28 states and the District of Columbia registered unemployment rate  increases from June to July, nine states recorded rate decreases, and 13 states had no rate  change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
Thirty-seven states  posted unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, seven states and the District  of Columbia reported increases, and six states had no change. 
The August 2011 Kansas Labor Report will be released Sept. 16, 2011.