New statistics for April show a rise in the unemployment rate for Harvey County as the rest of the state experienced a small decline in unemployment, according to data released last week.



New statistics for April show a rise in the unemployment rate for Harvey County as the rest of the state experienced a small decline in unemployment, according to data released last week.
Harvey County’s April 2010 unemployment rate was 6.9 percent, according to the state Department of Labor. That’s a slight increase over the March rate, 6.8 percent, and up from 5.8 percent in April 2009 and 5.5 percent in March 2009. Before the recession, the unemployment rate in Harvey County hovered around 3 or 4 percent.
Though local unemployment numbers creeped upward, the statewide rate for April 2010 was 6.3 percent, identical to the rate for April 2009 and down from the March 2010 rate, which was 6.9 percent. Within the state, individual county unemployment rates represent a broad range, from a mere 2.6 percent in Gove County to as high as 9.4 percent in Wilson County.
In the area surrounding Harvey County, rates range from 4.8 percent to 8 percent.
Data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show Kansas gained 11,000 jobs statewide, but information was not given as to what industries and what part of the state benefited most from the gains. Though the job gains point to signs of recovery, the state lost 21,800 jobs since April 2009, so the state still is not close to its pre-recession job rates.
Statewide, the most significant job gains were in construction, which is good news for the industry, which has not added jobs since June 2008. As many as 6,100 construction jobs were added statewide between March and April, a much more significant increase than in a typical month-to-month.
Hospitality and professional services were among other industries experiencing job gains.
Unemployment claims, another telling sign of economic recovery, were down in April as well. There were 18,779 first-time unemployment claims in April, down from 30,097 in April 2009.
The number of recurring unemployment claims was 271,270, compared with 372,977 the month before.
In response to the report, Gov. Mark Parkinson was confident with the signs of recovery.
“We’re seeing positive signs of job creation,” he said. “In the past few months, we’ve seen our economy stabilizing, and in April, we’ve experienced actual job growth.”