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State, local jobless rates tick upwards
But, officials say jobless rates remain low
august 2022 jobless map
This map provided by the Kansas Department of Labor shows the unemployment figures across the state for June.

While the counties of the Golden Belt saw unemployment numbers tick up some in August, the jobless levels remain near record lows and well under those of the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 numbers released Friday show a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 2.5% in August. This was an increase from 2.4% in July and a decrease from 3.2% in August 2021.

In Barton County, the rate was 3.0%, down from 3.2 in July and from 3.1 in August 2021. In other words, out of a civilian workforce of 12,687, 12,312 were employed and 375 out of work.

“The Kansas unemployment rate in August was 2.5%,” said Kansas Labor Secretary Amber Shultz. “Estimates for the unemployment rate remain below pre-pandemic levels and near historic lows.”

Seasonally adjusted job estimates for Kansas indicate total nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 3,400 from July. Total nonfarm includes private sector and government employers. Private sector jobs decreased by 2,100 over the month, while government decreased by 1,300.

“August estimates indicate that average nominal weekly earnings for the private sector in Kansas increased by 3.5% over the year even as the average number of hours worked showed a small decrease to 34.5,” said Labor Economist Nathan Kessler. “While real wages do remain under pressure, over the year comparisons for inflation indicate some improvement from recent highs.”

Since August 2021 Kansas’ seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs have increased by 15,100. This change is due to an increase of 18,200 private sector jobs and a decrease of 3,100 government jobs.

The Kansas unemployment rate 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. 

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

Nationally, unemployment rate rose to 3.7 percent over the month but was 1.5 percentage points lower than in August 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. 

According to the BLS, unemployment rates were higher in August in 16 states and stable in 34 states and the District of Columbia. All 50 states and the District had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier. 

Area unemployment rates

August 2022

• Barton County, 3.0%

• Ellsworth County, 2.8%

• Pawnee County, 2.8%

• Rice County, 2.6%

• Rush County, 2.6%

• Russell County, 2.6%

• Stafford County, 3.0%

July 2022

• Barton County, 3.7%

• Ellsworth County, 3.0%

• Pawnee County, 3.1%

• Rice County, 3.4%

• Rush County, 2.9%

• Russell County, 3.3%

• Stafford County, 3.1%

August 2021

• Barton County, 3.3%

• Ellsworth County, 2.9%

• Pawnee County, 2.9%

• Rice County, 3.6%

• Rush County, 3.4%

• Russell County, 3.4%

• Stafford County, 3.1%