Kansas employment situation, December 2021

In Kansas for December 2021, the labor force fell, the number of people working rose slightly, and the unemployment rate fell, all compared to the previous month.

Data released today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, part of the United States Department of Labor, shows a mixed employment picture in Kansas for December 2021 when compared to the previous month. The unemployment rate fell, and other measures showed small changes.

(Click charts and tables for larger versions.)

Using seasonally adjusted data, from November 2021 to December 2021, nonfarm employment in Kansas rose by 800 jobs (0.1 percent). Over the year, the number of Kansas nonfarm jobs for December 2021 was higher by 38,600 (2.8 percent) over the same month last year. This is using seasonally adjusted data.

Over the year (December 2020 to December 2021), the Kansas labor force fell by 17,678 people (1.2 percent) using seasonally adjusted data from the household survey, with a decline of 4,949 (0.3 percent) over the last month.

Since summer, the monthly jobs count has grown every month, with the rate of growth slowing most months. There are now 122,500 (9.6 percent) more jobs in Kansas than in April 2020, which is the low point since the pandemic’s start. There are 35,500 (2.5 percent) fewer jobs than in February 2020, just before the pandemic.

The number of unemployed persons fell from November 2021 to December 2021 by 4,255 persons (7.9 percent). The unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in December, down from 4.7 percent last December and down from 3.6 percent last month.

Comparing Kansas to the nation: Using seasonal data, the number of Kansas nonfarm jobs is 2.85 percent higher than 12 months ago, while nationally, the same statistic is 4.52 percent higher. Non-seasonal data shows the number of Kansas nonfarm jobs is 2.68 percent higher than 12 months ago, while nationally, the same statistic is 4.57 percent higher.

To learn more about this data and what the employer and household surveys measure, see Visualization: Employment measures. Also, see Counting jobs in Kansas.

While the unemployment rate fell by a significant amount, it is essential to remember it is a ratio between two numbers: the labor force (the number of people working plus those actively seeking employment) and the number of unemployed people. It is a good sign when the unemployment rate falls because more people are working. That is the case for Kansas in December, as employment grew by 0.1 percent. But the number of people in the labor force fell, and by a larger proportion (0.3 percent), so the unemployment rate fell.

Click charts and tables for larger versions.

The following chart shows job changes from the previous month, and we can see the positive changes for the last seven months, although the change is becoming smaller in most months. The recent increases in Kansas were mostly smaller than the national increase, although in November the increase in Kansas was larger.

In the following chart of job changes from the same month one year ago, the sharp increase from April 2020 (the low point since the start of the pandemic) to April 2021 is easily seen. The generally declining pace of change for both Kansas and the nation is evident, followed by months of stable change.

In the following chart of unemployment rates, we see that the rate in Kansas is lower than the national rate during the pandemic, as it had been before the pandemic. The unemployment rate in Kansas is fairly steady, and the difference between the Kansas unemployment rate and the national rate is becoming smaller.

In the following chart of monthly changes in the labor force for Kansas and the nation, the Kansas labor force has both grown and shrank since the pandemic. The monthly changes for both are small since January, except the declines for Kansas from October through December.

For industry groups, the following charts show the number of employees in various industries in October 2020 and October 2021.

This chart uses the same data but shows the percent change from December 2020 to December 2021. These industry groups have significant gains:

  • Leisure and Hospitality
  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities
  • Manufacturing
  • Mining and Logging

These groups declined in employment:

  • Financial Activities
  • Construction

A new chart shows trends in employment as the difference between each state and the nation. Note that a relatively flat line close to zero in value, such as for Minnesota, does not mean that the state’s employment is stagnating. Instead, it means that Minnesota’s change in employment closely tracks the national change.

A second version starts in 2015.

This chart starts with January 2020, just before the pandemic.

The report for this month from the Kansas Department of Labor is here. The report from BLS may be found here.

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