For the Wichita metropolitan area in February 2022, the major measures of the employment economy improved.
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Total nonfarm employment rose from 286,700 in February 2021 to 295,200 in January 2022, a gain of 8,500 jobs (3.0 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 4.9 percent. The unemployment rate in February 2022 was 3.5 percent, down from 5.3 percent the same month one year prior.
Considering smoothed seasonally adjusted data from the household survey, the labor force grew by 538 persons (0.2 percent) in February 2022 from January 2022, the number of unemployed persons fell by 1,023 (8.1 percent), and the unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, down from 4.0 percent in January. The number of employed persons not working on farms rose to 304,484 in February 2022 from 302,923 the prior month, an increase of 1,561 persons (0.5 percent).
See my report for January 2022 for information about recent revisions to 2021 data.
The following chart of the monthly change in the labor force and employment in Wichita over the past year shows both gains and declines. Since April 2021 the rate of change had been small as the economy settled into a more stable pattern as Wichita and the nation recovered from the pandemic. The decline in November was notably large, as are the increases in January and February.
As of February 2022, the Wichita MSA had 4,377 fewer jobs (1.4 percent) than in February 2020, the last full month before the start of the pandemic, and 37,670 more jobs (14.1 percent) than in April 2020, the first month after the beginning of the pandemic.
The following chart of changes from the same month one year ago shows Wichita mostly having more jobs than the year before. The labor force has varied up and down.
The following chart of changes in employment from the same month of the previous year shows the Wichita MSA generally following the national trend, although the recovery in Wichita has been slower than for the nation.
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.