Jobless rate rises in Kansas and holds steady in Missouri

Kansas was among seven states that posted increases in their unemployment rates in March from February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

The jobless rate in Kansas rose slightly to 5.6 percent in March, compared with 5.5 percent in February. But that was better than the 5.8 percent posted in the state in March 2012. And it was better than the national average of 7.6 percent last month.

Missouri was among 17 states that had no month-to-month change in their unemployment rates in March 2012. Missouri’s jobless rate held at 6.7 percent. That compared with 7 percent in March a year ago.

Year-over-year, the bureau said, 39 states and the District of Columbia showed declines in their jobless rates. Only eight states had increases, and three showed no change.

According to the bureau’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted figures released Friday, Kansas had 83,000 unemployed job hunters and Missouri had 199,500.

On the payroll employment side of the report, Kansas registered a job loss of 5,900 in March from February, the bureau said. Even so, establishment payrolls in the state in March 2013 were about 10,000 higher than in March 2012.

Payroll employment in Missouri also declined in March from February by about 8,600 jobs, but the state’s jobless rate held steady because fewer people were looking for work and the size of the labor force shrank.

From March 2012 to March 2013, payrolls in Missouri grew by about 9,000 jobs, the bureau estimated.