Kansas loses 5,300 private-sector jobs; jobless rate holds at 3.7%

Kansas lost an estimated 5,300 private-sector jobs in May based on the latest analysis by state and federal labor departments, officials said Friday.


The Kansas Department of Labor and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported total Kansas nonfarm jobs declined by 5,000 in May compared to the previous month. Private sector jobs, a subset of total nonfarm jobs, slumped 5,300.

In May, eight of 11 sectors of the economy tracked in Kansas curtailed employment. While government, information, and mining and logging added 500 jobs in May, losses elsewhere in the workforce dwarfed those gains.

The biggest hit was in trade, transportation and utilities with losses of 1,800 jobs. Retrenchment also occurred in manufacturing, down 1,300 jobs; construction, down 700 jobs; education and health, down 600 jobs; and leisure and hospitality, down 600 jobs.

Gov. Sam Brownback campaigned for re-election in 2014 by pledging to create 100,000 private-sector jobs during a second term in office.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May held steady at 3.7 percent. The state’s labor force last month declined by 2,055, employment fell by 1,868 and the pool of unemployed decreased by 187. In May 2016, the state’s jobless figure was 4.1 percent.

“The number of unemployed individuals continued to decrease in May, an indication of a tightening labor market,” said Emilie Doerksen, a labor economist with the state Department of Labor.

However, Doerksen said statistics didn’t show “signs of increased demand for labor, with relatively small changes in average weekly hours worked and nominal hourly earnings compared to May 2016.”