Kansas job loss claims seem not to add up



The Kansas City Star carried a story about Kansas jobs and unemployment. The claim was made that “Put another way: Kansas has lost more than 8,800 jobs this year.”


Kansas Representative Paul Davis, a Democrat who has said he will run for governor next year, linked to the article on his Facebook page and made a statement based on the job loss claim, writing “Kansas has lost nearly 9,000 jobs in 2013.”

I don’t know what data the Star reporter relied on, or what computations he made. I gathered statistics from the Kansas Department of Labor. I’ve made them available here, and a chart is below.

Job levels can be seasonally adjusted, or not. Using the seasonal data, total non farm employment in Kansas rose from 1,366,900 in January to 1,372,000 in August, the last month for which data is available.

Using the not seasonally adjusted data, jobs rose from 1,347,800 in January to 1,361,900 in August.

Maybe the reporter used a different range of dates. I don’t know. If we use the not seasonally adjusted job count from December 2012, which is 1,376,300, the job count in August is less, but by a number not close to the number in the story. Using the seasonally adjusted number for December 2012 produces a gain of jobs since then.



3 responses to “Kansas job loss claims seem not to add up”

  1. BD

    Whatever measure you want to use doesn’t exactly reflect an outstanding success. Your talking about less than 20,000 employee swings and an unadjusted figure that is not only volatile but not particularly a significant gain versus the cost, so it’s really pretty bad. Your adjusted average is nearly a flat line. Divide 20,000 into 1.6 million and also 3 million and see what kind of percentage you get. By any measure it’s bad. Those of us in business out here are tired of crumbling office parks and vacant buildings because we can’t figure out how to sell Kansas, smack in the middle of the country with great schools (well, until Brownback and the Tea Partiers started to defund them), great aesthetics, great work ethic, great infrastructure, and already favorable tax climates. And this isn’t from a lib.

  2. Steve

    BD maybe you need to wander over onto the KPI website and look at the per pupil funding numbers. Apparently you have bought the education lobby’s half truths without examining the facts. Might even be more instructive to go to the Governor’s Budget book and look in the education funding section on TOTAL funding for schools so you know what really went to the districts. Maybe if they had controlled their pension liabilities before the school districts handed a 19% funded system to the state taxpayers—that should make anyone question the schools’ veracity on finances—the state wouldn’t have to put over $300 M in to their pensions last year.

    I don’t know if you noticed but Kansas has been bleeding population and the income that leaves with them for decades. Go check the IRS Migration data and US Census data if you doubt that. Sam Brownback is working to fix it but apparently you liked the way things were going?

  3. BD

    Population drains have nothing to do with a viable business environment, but show the opposite. IF you have a great plan, they don’t continue to leave, but wait for it’s fruition. I didn’t like the way things were going, but they were doing better than now.

    Putting everything in Johnson County and Manhattan doesn’t help a whole heck of a lot. Maybe the athletic directors of K-State and KU and their coaching staffs can help. They seem to make millions every year.

    While you’re pondering that take a look at the true inflation numbers for the past 10 years–during the Bush administration (including a unfunded Medicare prescription program)–and the mandates thrust upon us which were concocted during Republican years, along with the housing bubble that dumped the whole country. Then factor in the property tax increases the Brownback plan will force putting even more business into other states. Garbage in yields garbage out and that is the problem with this analysis. In the mean time nothing changes the truth of what I noted.

    As for your census data, here is the latest from the Tea Party on that:
    I’d maybe drive over to the state library to look it up, but the road funds have been diverted to couple with the sales tax that was supposed to sunset. Yet another broken promise.

    Tell me, Steve, how do you suppose we’re going to come up with $1 billion to cover the projected Brownback deficit coming up here in a few? Sell the statehouse and lease it back like they did in Phoenix?

    Texas has 20 million people. A plan that funds Texas doesn’t work here because a fraction of a percent raises more when 20 million people pay it than when 3 million do. And like it or not, that pension fund deficit you point out isn’t just school districts, but the whole of state government, and we’re like somewhere around number 3 in being underfunded. How does that happen in a state where you’re required to balance the budget by law? Conservatives didn’t just get here 2 years ago, you know.

    Your boys have been in total charge for 2 years now–a veritable blank check on their plate to do what they wanted. Show me the money. Where is this miraculous revival?

    Zero effort was made to court California companies while Arizona and Nevada went hell bent for leather when California recently upped their taxes. What did we do? Oh, gee, more tax incentives for Missouri businesses moving into Johnson and Wyandotte Counties. (Incidentally, how does that make us money when the employees still live in Missouri and spend there?)

    I have a problem with NO programs for everywhere else outside that and Manhattan, and no effort to snag business that hasn’t been in this region before, or retain that which we had.

    Your points remind me of the scene in Out of Africa where the old chief draws a line intended to mean no one can get an education until he’s dead. I don’t need ‘analysis’ to see the Boeing factory, one in Wichita since before WWII, move to Oklahoma. I don’t need it to see new car and parts manufacturers locating in the old South, Indiana, the KC, Mo metro OKC and Ardmore, OK. I only need to look around my office park, one of the finest around–it’s half empty. 20 years ago it was full. I can list the companies that have left in the last 10 years alone that would spin your head in every community outside Wyandotte and Johnson Counties.

    You’ve had your tax plan and no one outside of metro Kansas City is signing up, and of those they are simply Missouri tax breaks moving over here. Name one major new one that wasn’t already teed up when Brownback took office (and don’t tell me the bio-defense lab as that one was on the table already and almost lost because of BB’s point of view). I’ll be more than happy to shut up and even eat crow when I see this plan work–BUT, there is no evidence at this point that anything that has happened wouldn’t have happened anyway. Put your money where your mouth is, boys, that is the only thing that sells bales here.

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