For the Wichita metropolitan area in December 2022, the major employment indicators barely changed from the prior month, with a small decline in employment.
Data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, part of the United States Department of Labor, shows a mostly unchanged employment situation in the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area for December 2022.
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Total nonfarm employment rose from 298,000 in December 2021 to 303,400 in December 2022, a gain of 5,400 jobs (1.8 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 2.9 percent. The unemployment rate in December 2022 was 2.9 percent, unchanged from the same month one year prior.
Considering smoothed seasonally adjusted data from the household survey, the labor force fell by 19 persons (0.0 percent) in December 2022 from November 2022, the number of unemployed persons rose by 234 (2.3 percent), and the unemployment rate was 3.2 percent, up 0.1 percentage points from November. The number of employed persons not working on farms fell to 310,489 in December 2022 from 310,742 the prior month, declining by 253 persons (0.1 percent).
See my report for January 2022 for information about recent revisions to 2021 data.
Chart 3a, the monthly change in the labor force and employment in Wichita over the past year, shows both gains and losses, with the last six months showing declines in employment.
As of December 2022, the Wichita MSA had 1,330 more jobs (0.4 percent) than in February 2020, the last full month before the start of the pandemic, and 43,100 more jobs (16.1 percent) than in April 2020, the first month after the beginning of the pandemic. These figures are from the smoothed seasonally adjusted series. The regular seasonally adjusted data is somewhat different, showing a deficit of 5,900 jobs (1.9 percent) since before the start of the pandemic, and a gain of 37,300 (14.1 percent) after the pandemic.
Chart 3b, showing changes from the same month one year ago, shows Wichita having more jobs than the year before in every month. The labor force had been rising until declining over the past six months, as has employment.
Chart 6a shows changes in employment from the same month of the previous year for Wichita and the nation. The Wichita MSA loosely follows the national trend in the sense that each month has greater employment than the same month a year ago. But Wichita’s number is always smaller than the nation’s, meaning the recovery in Wichita is slower, and there have been months where Wichita’s value rose.
Chart 8 shows the unemployment rate for Wichita and the nation.
Charts 4a and 4b 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.