Local jobless rate at 4.6%

By The Mercury

Once again, local unemployment rates have dropped.
A report released by the Kansas Department of Labor Tuesday morning found that Manhattan’s unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in January, down from 5.5 percent a year ago. The rate is up slightly from December, when the city’s unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.

“Kansas started off the year with healthy job growth and a declining unemployment rate. These are both welcome signs,” Tyler Tenbrink, labor economist, said. “If the trend continues, Kansas will be in a position to carry on a more sustained recovery.”

The Manhattan metropolitan statistical area (MSA), which includes areas of Geary, Pottawatomie and Riley counties, and Riley County saw similar trends. In January, the Manhattan MSA’s unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, down from 6.3 percent in January 2011. It increased slightly from 5.2 percent in December, though.

Riley County’s unemployment rate in January was 4.8 percent, down from 5.6 percent in January 2011. It was also up slightly from December when it was 4.2 percent.

The unemployment rate in Kansas was 6.4 percent, down from 7.5 percent one year ago and up from 6 percent in December.

Eight of the 11 major industries in Kansas reported over-the-year job gains. Department officials suggested the increase in construction jobs, 7.9 percent, is telling because the industry historically loses jobs in January.

“The continued growth of private sector jobs is particularly encouraging. We hope this pace continues through 2012,” Karin Brownlee, Kansas Secretary of Labor, said.

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