Wichita jobs and employment, February 2020

For the Wichita metropolitan area in February 2020, the labor force is up, the number of unemployed persons is up, the unemployment rate is up, and the number of people working is up when compared to the same month one year ago. Seasonal data shows increases in labor force and jobs from January.

Data released yesterday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, part of the United States Department of Labor, shows a mostly improving employment situation for the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Click charts and tables for larger versions.

Total nonfarm employment rose from 302,300 last February to 307,000 this February 2020. That’s an increase of 4,700 jobs (1.6 percent). (This data is not seasonally adjusted, so month-to-month comparisons are not valid.) For the same period, employment in the nation grew by 1.6 percent. The unemployment rate in February 2020 was 3.8 percent, up from 3.6 percent one year ago.

Considering seasonally adjusted data from the household survey, the labor force rose by 1,594 persons (0.5 percent) in February 2020 from January 2020, the number of unemployed persons rose by 192 (1.8 percent), and the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, up from 3.4 percent in January. The number of employed persons not working on farms rose to 303,935 in February from 302,533 the prior month, an increase of 1,402 persons (0.5 percent).

A note regarding recent layoffs and COVID-19

This data is for February 2020. Spirit Aerosytems announced layoffs (2,796) that started January 22 1, according to news reports, and Textron (875) the month before 2. The effect of these layoffs should be realized in these statistics. For employment data derived from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program, also known as the payroll survey or the establishment survey, the estimate is for the pay period that includes the twelfth day of the month. For data from the Current Population Survey, which counts people, the estimate is for the “reference week,” which is usually the week that includes the twelfth day of the month. This data was collected well before there was any talk of closing businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following chart of the monthly change in labor force and employment shows the positive trend in employment and labor force over the last eight months.

The following chart of changes from the same month one year ago shows a decline in the rate of growth of both employment and labor force, but with growth returning the past six or seven months.

The following chart of changes in employment from the same month of the previous year shows months when the Wichita MSA performed better than the nation. Over the past 12 months, the average monthly job growth for the nation was 1.37 percent, and for the Wichita MSA, 1.81 percent.

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 rarely outperformed the nation and sometimes has been far below the nation.


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