Kansas saw a decrease in its unemployment rate from March to April of this year.

Kansas saw a decrease in its unemployment rate from March to April of this year.

In a Labor Force Estimate report from the Kansas Department of Labor, the unemployment rate in the state went from 6.9 percent in March to 6.3 percent in April.

Likewise, Crawford County saw a drop in unemployment in the same timeframe from 7.7 percent in March to 7.4 percent in April. Other counties in southeast Kansas also saw declines in unemployment. In Bourbon County, the rate dropped from 7.4 percent to 6.6 percent and Cherokee County’s rate dipped to 7.9 percent from 8.7 percent a month ago.

The estimates showed that Kansas businesses had a 1.7 percent decrease in jobs lost over the year — a trend that has continued over the last four months.

In addition to that, Kansas businesses gained 15,900 jobs over the month of April, a 1.2 percent increase. That is more than the typical March to April job growth, which averages around 10,000 jobs.

“We’re seeing positive signs of job creation. In the past few months, we’ve seen our economy stabilizing, and in April we’ve experienced actual job growth,” Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson said. “Notably, that growth has been in the private sector.”

Construction was the biggest winner in the job increase game. The report showed that it is the first month the construction industry has reported over the year job gains since June 2008. Construction gained 6,100 jobs over the month, an 11.2 percent increase.

“This month’s report offers a number of encouraging signs. Construction - an industry hit hard by the recession - is showing year-over-year job growth for the first time in almost 2 years; and we’re seeing growth in the administrative support industry, which typically precedes broader job growth across industries,” said Tyler Tenbrink, labor economist with the Department of Labor. “We are hopeful this upward trend will continue in the coming months.”

The report said that professional and business services gained 4,200 jobs over the month, a 3.2 percent increase and a majority of those job gains were in administrative and support services. Leisure and hospitality also gained 3,800 jobs over the month, a 3.5 percent increase.

There were 18,779 initial claims (Regular, Extended Benefit (EB), and Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC)) for unemployment benefits in April, down from 20,981 initial claims in March 2010 and down from 30,097 in April 2009. There were 271,270 continued claims (Regular, EB, and EUC) in April, down from 372,977 in March 2010 and up from 223,199 in April 2009.

“While there are still too many Kansans without a job, this is a good sign that our efforts to put Kansans back to work are beginning to materialize,” Parkinson said.

On the Web:
Kansas Department of Labor: http://www.dol.ks.gov

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140