Kansas’ unemployment rate stayed at a relatively low 4 percent in February, the Kansas Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday, but conflicting government surveys yielded mixed jobs numbers.
Missouri’s unemployment rate for February, reported Tuesday by the state, was 4.2 percent, matching a revised rate for January. Missouri said payroll employment grew by 9,400 jobs, according to seasonally adjusted data.
The national unemployment rate was 4.9 percent for February.
In Kansas’ report Friday, from a survey of households:
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▪ The jobless rate held steady from January and was down from 4.3 percent in February 2015. The national rate of 4.9 percent also was steady from January to February, and down from 5.5 percent a year ago.
▪ The seasonally adjusted February estimates said 1,452,714 Kansans were employed, up 22,209 from a year ago, and 60,656 Kansans were unemployed, down 3,054. That also put the February labor force at 1,494,215, up 19,155 from a year ago.
On the down side, from a survey of employers:
▪ The number of seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs dropped by 1,900 from January, 1,700 of those in the private sector. Construction was the sector hit hardest, the figures indicated. In the national survey released two weeks ago, the U.S. economy overall added 242,000 payroll jobs in February.
▪ From a year ago, the state is down 5,400 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs, 3,900 of them in the private sector. The national survey said payroll employment was up 2.67 million from a year ago.
The surveys often give a different picture because the household survey takes in groups including the self-employed and agricultural workers that are not captured by the employers’ payroll survey.
Emilie Doerksen, an economist with the Kansas Department of Labor, said: “February’s labor market report provided mixed data. While employers reported fewer jobs on their payrolls, more Kansans actually reported working this month.”