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Media Ignores Some Good News in August Jobs Numbers

Bleak media reports highlighting a nonfarm jobs decline of 8,700 in Kansas since last August neglected to mention some good news. The Wichita metro area and the Kansas side of the Kansas City metro area[1] each added jobs over the period. The table below also shows a potential silver lining to be had depending on one’s perspective.

august-2016-jobs-table-by-geographyNon-farm jobs totals include government employment, and over half of the job losses reported for Kansas were government jobs. No one celebrates someone losing his or her job, but many of these government job losses could instead represent voluntary choices not to refill positions held by individuals resigning or retiring. After all, Kansas does have the third-highest number of government employees (federal, state, and local) per 10,000 residents in the nation. The state’s ability to meet service demands with fewer employees over time could mean a lower tax burden for citizens, allowing them to keep more of what they earn.

Job losses in the private sector appear to be isolated to the non-metro areas, but the more specific, industry-level data needed to understand these fully is not yet available. Look for it in our quarterly jobs update next month.

[1] This area includes Franklin, Johnson, Leavenworth, Linn, Miami, and Wyandotte counties.