Kansas Says Jobless Rate Steady at 3.2%

Work-force development professionals say they have seen sharp increases in request for assistance from workers laid off in Kansas, but the state said today that its Department of Labor and the federal Bureau of Labor Services show the unemployment rate for February at 3.2 percent, unchanged from January.

In their monthly update issued this morning, labor officials said that increases in the leisure and hospitality sector, hit hard by layoffs, furloughs and business failures during the pandemic in 2020, helped offset a decrease of 5,200 in non-farm jobs over the past month, with private-sector jobs accounting for 4.200 of those. Construction accounted for most of that loss, 3,100 jobs, which officials said was likely connected to the loss of work during the historic freeze that hit the nation in mid-February.

“Kansas continues to see recovery with continued decline in the unemployment rate at 3.2 percent for February,” said state labor economist Todd Rilinger. “However, the alternative measures of labor underutilization show that Kansas still has a ways to go. Broader measures of unemployment, including discouraged workers and individuals working part time for economic reasons, remain elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels.”

Since February 2020, the department said, the state has recorded a loss of 70,500 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs–56,500 private-sector jobs and 14,000 government jobs.

Published March 26, 2021