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Northwest Kansas unemployment falls again

5/20/2014

By MIKE CORN

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

The dice have been rolled, putting both Ness and Logan counties in the top spot, at least as far as being on the low end of the unemployment spectrum is concerned.

They both had a 2.2-percent unemployment rate in April, according to the Kansas Department of Labor.

Ellis and Greeley counties followed close behind with 2.3-percent unemployment rates.

Half of the top 10 counties with the lowest unemployment rates came from northwest Kansas, but the other five also hail from western Kansas.

In short, it's an unemployment desert, never mind the lack of rain throughout the area.

Across northwest Kansas, unemployment stood at 2.75 percent in April, down sharply from 3.29 percent in March.

Statewide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 4.8 percent. That's down slightly from March and down from 5.5 percent a year ago.

In the past year, Kansas gained 16,900 seasonally adjusted private-sector jobs, KDOL reported in a statement with the new unemployment figures, and 16,800 nonfarm jobs.

In the past month, Kansas gained 1,900 seasonally adjusted private-sector jobs and 2,500 nonfarm jobs.

"More Kansans are working now than ever before, and the state continues to build on its private-sector job growth," KDOL Secretary Lana Gordon said. "These are strong indicators of a vibrant Kansas workforce."

Not seasonally adjusted figures show Kansas gained 15,500 private-sector and 14,700 nonfarm jobs since April 2013. But that compares with equal gains of 14,900 in both the private-sector and nonfarm category in the past month.

The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Kansas was 4.4 percent, down from 5 percent in March and 5.1 percent in April 2013, KDOL reported.

"The improvement in Kansas' labor market is quite comprehensive, with positive growth recorded in nonfarm jobs and the number of people employed, with a decrease in the unemployment rate," KDOL labor economist Efua Afful said. "Additionally, the number of individuals receiving unemployment benefits decreased substantially over the month and over the year."

There were, however, 10,186 initial claims for unemployment benefits in April, up from 9,669 initial claims in March and down from 13,187 last year.