A new report says the Kansas economy continued to improve at the end of 2013 as the state's unemployment rate dipped below 5 percent for the first time since 2008.
The Department of Labor's most recent report showed the seasonally adjusted rate fell to 4.9 percent in December from November's 5.1 percent. Last month's figure was also down from 5.5 percent in December 2012.
In Harvey County the unemployment rate dipped to 4.3 percent, according to a report by the Kansas Department of Labor. That figure is actually an increase over the previous month — the rate was 4.1 percent in November 2013. The most recent report shows a lower unemployment rate than one year ago when the county rate was 4.8 percent.
"The state's unemployment rate continued its descent, dropping below 5 percent for the first time since 2008," Lana Gordon, Secretary of Labor, wrote in the monthly report. "For the second consecutive year, Kansas saw over the year growth of more than 10,000 jobs. This is all good news for Kansans."
Nine of the 11 major industry sectors posted job gains last year, topped by professional and business services with about 3,900 jobs added. Declines of 100 jobs were reported in government employment and 800 jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities sector.
There were also losses statewide.
Seven major industries reported statewide over the month job losses. These were greatest in construction and leisure and hospitality, both down 2,400 jobs, or 4.3 and 2.0 percent respectively, with both showing losses throughout their sector. Government lost 2,100 jobs which were primarily at the state level.
Nine of the 11 major industries in Kansas reported growth over the last 12 months. Gains were greatest in professional and business services, adding 3,900 jobs mostly in professional, scientific and technical services. Financial activities increased 2,800 jobs with the majority of the increase in finance and insurance. Education and health services increased 1,400 jobs spread throughout the sector.
Two major industries reported statewide over the year job losses. These were in trade, transportation and utilities, losing 800 jobs, and government, down 100 jobs.