For the Wichita metropolitan area in August 2021, the number of unemployed persons is down, the unemployment rate is down, and the number of people working is up when compared to the same month one year ago. The recent trend exhibits only small changes.
Data released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, part of the United States Department of Labor, shows a steady employment situation in the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area for August 2021.
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Total nonfarm employment rose from 283,900 in August 2020 to 287,800 in August 2021, a gain of 3,900 jobs (1.4 percent). (This data is not seasonally adjusted, so month-to-month comparisons are not valid.) For the same period, employment in the nation rose by 4.4 percent. The unemployment rate in August 2021 was 5.2 percent, down from 9.2 percent the same month one year prior.
Considering seasonally adjusted data from the household survey, the labor force rose by 3 persons (0.0 percent) in August 2021 from July 2021, the number of unemployed persons rose by 101 (0.6 percent), and the unemployment rate was 5.3 percent, up from 5.2 percent in July. The number of employed persons not working on farms fell to 303,117 in August from 303,215 the prior month, a decline of 98 persons (0.0 percent).
The following chart of the monthly change in the labor force and employment in Wichita shows both gains and declines. The rate of change since March is small as the economy settles into a more stable pattern as Wichita and the nation recover from the pandemic.
Wichita has 5,744 fewer jobs (1.9 percent) than in February 2020, the last full month before the start of the pandemic, and 36,303 more jobs (13.6 percent) than in April 2020, the first month after the start of the pandemic.
The following chart of changes from the same month one year ago shows Wichita now having more jobs than a year ago for the past four months. Those months were right after the start of the response to the pandemic.
The following chart of changes in employment from the same month of the previous year shows the Wichita MSA has mostly tracked the nation’s trend since the pandemic. Since November 2020, however, the recovery in Wichita has been notably slower than for the nation
The following chart shows the monthly change in nonfarm jobs for Wichita and the nation. Since September 2020, the changes have been relatively small, with both gains and losses. The relatively large increase of 2,600 jobs in March was nearly canceled by the loss in April. There have been both gains and losses since then.
The following two charts show changes in jobs for Wichita and the nation over longer periods. The change is calculated from the same month of the previous year. For times when the Wichita line was above the nation, Wichita was growing faster than the nation. This was often the case during the decades starting in 1990 and 2000. Since 2010, however, Wichita has only occasionally outperformed the nation and sometimes has been far below the nation.
(For data on all metropolitan areas in the nation, see my interactive visualization Metro area employment and unemployment.)
The link to the archived version of the BLS news release for this month may be found here.