Ellis County 2nd for low unemployment
By MIKE CORN
If Sheridan County slips any lower, it soon will no longer be in the top 10 as far as sporting low unemployment rates.
In March, Sheridan County had slipped into seventh place in the state.
Surprisingly, Ellis County's already low unemployment rate dropped even lower in March, putting it in second place for the lowest rate in the state, a distinction it shares with Logan County.
Greeley County, with just 22 people looking for work, continued as the state's leader, even though its rate climbed slightly.
Unemployment in the 20 counties that make up northwest Kansas dropped in March to 3.29 percent.
The seasonally adjusted Kansas unemployment rate in March stood at 4.9 percent, according to the Kansas Department of Labor. That's unchanged from February, but still down from 5.5 percent a year earlier.
That's despite an increase in the number of jobs added to the state's economy between February and March. In the past month, KDOL reported, Kansas gained 8,100 private sector jobs and 10,100 nonfarm jobs.
As a result, the not-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates stood at 5.1 percent, down from 5.5 percent in February. That's only marginally lower than the 5.8 percent in March 2013.
KDOL reported Kansas gained 15,200 private sector jobs and 16,800 nonfarm jobs in the past year.
"Multiple indicators suggest the labor market is gaining strength," said senior KDOL labor economist Tyler Tenbrink. "This month, Kansas added to the number of jobs gained since this time last year and recorded increases in average weekly hours worked as well as average hourly earnings in the private sector. Improvement in these areas suggest employers are responding to increased demand for goods and services."
Seasonally adjusted job gains were slightly higher.
"The Kansas economy continues its drive of private sector job growth and low unemployment," said KDOL Secretary Lana Gordon. "This month, the state surpassed 50,000 private sector jobs added since January 2011. This report demonstrates confidence in the labor market that Kansans are ready to work and are able to find jobs."
There were 9,669 initial claims for unemployment benefits in March 2014, down from 11,121 initial claims in February and down from 15,067 last year.