Swaths of western Kansas saw a rise in unemployment over the past year, reports Kansas Agland. The increased jobless rate was concentrated in northwest Kansas and parts of southeast Kansas, according to data from the Department of Labor. Meanwhile, unemployment rates fell in northeast Kansas and the southcentral part of the state. During the past year the overall unemployment rate fell from 4.2 percent to 3.9.
In that same period, the state gained almost 10,000 private sector jobs. While that was a solid increase, it was still well below Gov. Sam Brownback’s announced goal of 25,000 jobs.
Sen. Jim Denning of Overland Park pointed to falling agricultural commodity prices to explain the rise in rural unemployment. Though unemployment may have risen in many rural counties, each county may have only lost a handful of jobs. That’s because of the sparse populations there.