The unemployment rate across northwest Kansas spiked dramatically in April, with a combination of factors including coronavirus stay-at-home orders and low oil prices acting as contributing factors.
The jobless rate in Ellis County jumped from 1.8 percent in March to 7.1 percent in April — by far the highest rate in recent memory. Just more than 1,200 people were categorized as unemployed in April — up from just 315 in March.
Gove County reported the highest unemployment rate in northwest Kansas at 8.8 percent, with Russell reporting 7.4 percent unemployment.
Trego, Phillips, Ness, Graham, and Rooks counties all reported jobless rate above 5 percent.
Statewide, preliminary estimates reported by the Labor Market Information Services division of the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics show a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 11.2 percent in April. This was an increase from 2.8 percent in March and an increase from 3.2 percent in April 2019.
Jobless rates of nearly 20 percent were reported in Sedgwick and Wilson counties. Click HERE for an interactive map detailing county-by-county unemployment reports.
“The unemployment rate in Kansas increased significantly from a historical low of 2.8 percent in March to a series high of 11.2 percent in April as workers across Kansas felt the effects of COVID-19 on the labor market,” said Secretary Delía García. “The United States unemployment rate also reached a series high, increasing to 14.7 percent in April."
Seasonally adjusted job estimates indicate total Kansas nonfarm jobs decreased by 130,400 from March. Private sector jobs, a subset of total nonfarm jobs, decreased by 121,600 from the previous month, while government decreased by 8,800 jobs.
“April estimates reflect the impact of efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Job estimates fell by 130,400 over the month with reductions in the number of jobs for all major sectors,” said Labor Economist, Emilie Doerksen. “The leisure and hospitality sector saw a particularly sharp decline, accounting for 50,200 out of the total decrease since March."
Since April 2019, Kansas seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs have declined by 133,200. This change is due to a decrease of 125,500 private sector jobs and 7,700 government jobs.
NOTE: Friday's release includes nonfarm jobs and labor force estimates for April 2020. Data collected for this report references the week including April 12th, during a statewide Stay Home order for the State of Kansas in response to COVID-19 that went into effect on March 30th. Additional resources for affected workers and employers may be found at the Kansas Department of Labor’s website: www.dol.ks.gov and www.GetKansasBenefits.gov.