For the Wichita metropolitan area in April 2023, most major employment indicators improved slightly from the prior month.
Data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, part of the United States Department of Labor, shows a mostly unchanged, but slightly improved, employment situation in the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area for April 2023.
Comparing April 2023 to the same month of the previous year using not seasonally adjusted data from the household survey, employment and the labor force both grew. The unemployment rate rose from 2.5 percent to 3.1 percent.
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Looking at April 2023 and the previous two months using smoothed seasonally adjusted data from the household survey, the labor force and employment grew. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.2 percent.
Chart 3a, the monthly change in the labor force and employment in Wichita over the past year, shows both gains and losses, with March and April showing large gains after months of declines in employment and labor force. The increases for March are especially large.
As of April 2023, the Wichita MSA had 1,953 (0.6 percent) more jobs than in February 2020, the last full month before the start of the pandemic, and 42,746 (15.9 percent) more jobs 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 gain of 800 jobs (0.3 percent) since before the start of the pandemic, and a gain of 43,400 (16.3 percent) after the pandemic.
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 until the most recent seven months, Wichita’s number has usually smaller than the nation’s, meaning the recovery in Wichita has been slower. Now Wichita and the nation are growing employment at roughly the same rate.
Chart 8 shows the unemployment rate for Wichita and the nation.
Chart 7 shows the annual employment change for Wichita and a select group of peers. The metros in this chart are near Wichita, or that Wichita business leaders visited on learning expeditions.
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. In recent months Wichita has performed similarly to 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.