The Kansas City metropolitan area’s unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent in April, down from 5.9 percent a year earlier, according to preliminary data released Wednesday.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said the area was among 357 of 372 metro areas surveyed that had lower year-over-year jobless rates.
For the Kansas City area, that meant there were 57,500 unemployed job seekers in April 2014 compared to 61,500 a year earlier.
The area also scored better in job creation. Nonfarm payroll employment was estimated at 1,014,100 in April this year compared to 1,008,400 in April a year ago.
It’s important to note, though, that the improvement in the jobless rate was partly affected by a decline in the size of the labor force. The bureau estimated that the Kansas City area’s civilian labor force shrank to 1,032,800 in April 2014 from 1,035,500 in April 2013.
The bureau’s report also showed the job market vibrancy of many college cities. In the Kansas City region, for example, Columbia, Mo., had an April jobless rate of 4 percent; Lawrence had a rate of 3.9 percent, and Manhattan, Kan., was at 4.1 percent. Each was a year-over-year improvement.
The national unemployment rate in April was 5.9 percent, figured in the same non-seasonally adjusted way that the metro area rates are calculated. That compared to 7.1 percent in April 2013.
Around the country, metro area jobless rates ranged from a low of 2.3 percent in Midland, Tex., to a high of 23.8 percent in Yuma, Ariz.
Year-over-year payroll growth was largest in the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla., area at 4.5 percent. The worst payroll decline was in Farmington, N. Mex., at 3.7 percent.
In raw numbers, the biggest April-to-April job creation was in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana area with a net gain of 118,200 jobs. The largest loss, 5,500 payroll jobs, was in the Detroit-Warren-Livonia area.
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