Let this stunning news sink in: After losing a whopping 3,700 jobs in April, Kansas now has lower total nonfarm employment than at any time since ... September 2014.
In addition, the new jobs figures out Friday from the state and federal governments show that Kansas had a “growth” rate of 0.0 percent over the 12 months, while losing 600 jobs since April 2015. That’s the seventh worst rate in the entire country.
The horrible new jobs information continued a very bad week for Gov. Sam Brownback and Kansans.
On Wednesday, Brownback slashed another $97 million from the budget, in addition to diverting another $185 million from highway funds and delaying a $100 million state payment into the public employees’ pension plan.
These moves continued his reckless budget reductions, mostly caused by the fact that his 2012 income tax cuts never have produced the jobs or new revenues Brownback promised four years ago.
On Friday, the Kansas Department of Labor did not mention any of this bad news in the top of its press release. Instead, it said that the Kansas unemployment rate had dropped to 3.8 percent from 3.9 percent in April.
Who cares? Fewer people have actual jobs in the state.
Brownback apologists quickly pointed out the state had a meager gain of 800 private sector jobs. Again: Who cares? People with government jobs lost them, so total employment was down.
But others are doing far better than Kansas.
▪ Missouri added 37,100 jobs over the last year, for a growth rate of 1.3 percent. That was 33rd best in America. In March, the Show-Me State had posted the 11th worst rate in the nation with a 0.9 percent rate.
▪ U.S. employment has surged by 1.8 percent over the last 12 months. In fact, the nation has added 2.692 million jobs. Of that amount, Kansas accounts for a loss of 600 total jobs in that span.
▪ Idaho had the highest year-over-year growth rate of 3.8 percent, while Delaware was at 3.7 percent and Oregon at 3.5 percent.
▪ The worst states were North Dakota, with a negative growth rate of 3.8 percent and Wyoming at negative 3.7 percent.
The April news continued a bad string of months for the Sunflower State.
For example, the March numbers showed Kansas with the seventh worst job growth rate for the previous 12 months at 0.0 percent.
Incredibly, the numbers had been even worse in February: The Sunflower State actually had 5,000 fewer jobs in that month than it did in the same month in 2015.