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Unemployment bumps slightly higher





Northwest Kansas is back in the hunt, at least in terms of dominating the top 10 counties with the lowest unemployment rate.

But there's massive gridlock for fifth place, with five counties with a 2.5 percent June unemployment rate, according to data released by the Kansas Department of Labor.

Logan County topped the list with its 2 percent unemployment rate.

In the 10 counties with the lowest unemployment rate, out of the 17,887 people in labor pool, a mere 435 people are out of work.

The top 10 counties are, in order, Logan, Greeley, Ness, Gove, Lane, Scott, Sheridan, Sherman and Clark counties.

The northwest Kansas unemployment rate in June stood at 2.95 percent, a slight increase from May.

In Kansas, the adjusted unemployment rate was 4.9 percent, KDOL reported. That's up from 4.8 percent in May and down from 5.6 percent a year ago.

Job growth was slow in June.

"Since last month, Kansas gained 700 seasonally adjusted private sector jobs," KDOL reported, a slight increase. "The state added 500 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs, with no significant percent change."

Rather than the slow month-to-month growth, KDOL sought to show a bigger increase in jobs over the past year.

"Kansas gained 15,000 seasonally adjusted private sector jobs, an increase of 1.3 percent since last year," the agency reported in its news release, "and 18,400 nonfarm jobs, also a 1.3 percent increase.

"With another month of private sector job growth, Kansas continues its comeback from the recession, having now added more than 55,000 private sector jobs since January 2011," said KDOL Secretary Lana Gordon.

Not seasonally adjusted figures show Kansas gained 15,200 private sector jobs since last year and 16,700 nonfarm jobs, the agency said.

"Since May, Kansas gained 8,600 private sector jobs," it added, "and lost 2,400 nonfarm jobs."

The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, up from 4.6 percent in May and down from 5.7 percent last year.

"Kansas recorded a slight increase in the labor force, adjusting for seasonal effects," said KDOL labor economist Efua Afful. "This indicates continued confidence that the economy will provide opportunities for employment."

There were 9,844 initial claims for unemployment benefits in June, down from 12,518 in May and down from 13,284 last year.