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Unemployment bumps higher in July

8/22/2011

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

Unemployment in northwest Kansas followed the state overall and edged slightly higher in July, according to the Kansas Department of Labor.

In northwest Kansas, the unemployment rate stood at 4 percent, up from 3.86 percent in July.

Although the rate of increase was higher than in Kansas overall, the northwest Kansas unemployment rate remains well below that of the state, at 6.8 percent. The statewide unemployment rate for July 2010 stood at 7.3 percent.

The seasonal rate for July stood at 6.5 percent, down slightly from June.

Rooks County continues to carry the highest unemployment rate in the region, at 5.7 percent. That's up from 5.3 percent in June, accounting for the addition of six people on unemployment.

Phillips County had a 5-percent unemployment rate, up from 4.7 percent in June. Despite the percentage increase, fewer people were unemployed in July in Phillips County, reflecting a decrease in the overall labor pool.

Across the 20 counties that make up northwest Kansas, the overall labor pool -- the number of people actively looking for work -- declined between June and July by 356 workers.

In July, 2,505 people actively looking for work were without jobs. That compares to 2,435 in June.

Highlights of the unemployment report:

* In Kansas, 2,400 private sector jobs were added between June and July, but 18,600 jobs were lost, a 1.4-percent decrease. During the past year, private sector jobs are up by 1,300.

*  Six of the 11 major industries in Kansas reported over-the-month job gains. They were greatest in construction, gaining 2,300 jobs; professional and business services, gaining 2,300 jobs; and education and health services, gaining 1,200 jobs, mostly in private education.

* Five of the 11 major industries lost jobs. Government lost 21,000 jobs, most of those in public schools laying off workers for the summer; and leisure and hospitality lost 1,700 jobs.

There were 19,706 initial claims for unemployment benefits in July, up from the almost 19,000 in June but down from the almost 24,000 in July 2010. Continuing claims number 192,155, down slightly from June and down more than 50,000 from July 2010.

Northwest Kansas unemployment rates by county for July and June and July 2010 are:

County July 2011 June 2011 July 2010

Cheyenne 3.7 3.6 3.5

Decatur 4.3 4.0 4.4

Ellis 3.6 3.6 4.1

Gove 3.3 3.0 3.4

Graham 3.9 3.7 4.7

Logan 3.2 3.0 3.6

Ness 2.8 2.8 3.6

Norton 4.4 4.1 4.8

Osborne 4.7 4.3 4.7

Phillips 5.0 4.7 4.6

Rawlins 3.8 3.9 4.3

Rooks 5.7 5.3 6.2

Rush 4.6 4.6 5.7

Russell 4.8 4.6 5.0

Sheridan 2.8 2.6 3.2

Sherman 3.4 3.5 4.2

Smith 4.2 4.0 4.8

Thomas 4.3 4.1 4.7

Trego 3.8 3.7 3.9

Wallace 4.6 4.4 3.3