Kansas Job Market Continues to Improve

The January 2012 Labor Report was released yesterday (3/13/12), showing continued improvement in employment numbers across the state.

According to January 2012 estimates, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.1 percent, down from 6.4 percent in December 2011. Kansas gained 12,200 nonfarm jobs over the year (a 0.9 percent increase) and 22,200 private sector jobs, indicating a decline in government jobs. Seasonal changes are influenced by weather, holidays and the closing of schools and are consistently figured in year-to-year, so the seasonally adjusted unemployment numbers are a better indicator of the actual labor market.

“The continued growth of private sector jobs is particularly encouraging. We hope this pace continues through 2012,”  Kansas Secretary of Labor Karin Brownlee said. Eight of the 11 major industries in Kansas reported over-the-year job gains. The increase in construction jobs, 7.9 percent, is especially promising because this industry historically loses jobs in January.

“Kansas started off the year with healthy job growth and a declining unemployment rate. These are both welcome signs,” Tyler Tenbrink, Labor Economist, said. “If the trend continues, Kansas will be in a position to carry on a more sustained recovery.”

Due to the declining unemployment rate, Kansas no longer qualifies for the Extended Benefits program. The Extended Benefits (EB) Program provides an additional 13 to 20 weeks of benefits to workers receiving state unemployment insurance benefits in states which have a specific unemployment rate. EB provides benefits to individuals who have exhausted regular state benefits and Emergency Unemployment Compensation.