For the Wichita metropolitan area in January 2020, the labor force is up, the number of unemployed persons is down, the unemployment rate is down, and the number of people working is up when compared to the same month one year ago. Seasonal data shows increases in labor force and jobs from December.
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Total nonfarm employment rose from 299,400 last January to 303,100 this January 2020. That’s an increase of 3,700 jobs (1.2 percent). (This data is not seasonally adjusted, so month-to-month comparisons are not valid.) For the same period, employment in the nation grew by 1.5 percent. The unemployment rate in January 2020 was 3.7 percent, down from 3.9 percent one year ago.
Considering seasonally adjusted data from the household survey, the labor force rose by 1,149 persons (0.4 percent) in January 2020 from December 2019, the number of unemployed persons rose by 79 (0.7 percent), and the unemployment rate was 3.4 percent, unchanged from December. The number of employed persons not working on farms rose to 302,522 in January from 301,452 the prior month, an increase of 1,070 persons (0.4 percent).
The following chart of the monthly change in labor force and employment shows the positive trend in employment and labor force over the last nine months.
The following chart of changes from the same month one year ago shows a decline in the rate of growth of both employment and labor force considering the entire year, but with growth returning the past five or six months.
The following chart of changes in employment from the same month of the previous year shows months when the Wichita MSA performed better than the nation. Over the past 12 months, the average monthly job growth for the nation was 1.38 percent, and for the Wichita MSA, 1.80 percent.
The following two charts show changes in jobs for Wichita and the nation over longer periods. The change is calculated from the same month of the previous year. For times when the Wichita line was above the nation, Wichita was growing faster than the nation. This was often the case during the decades starting in 1990 and 2000. Since 2010, however, Wichita has rarely outperformed the nation and sometimes has been far below the nation.
A note regarding recent layoffs
This data is for January 2020. Spirit Aerosytems announced layoffs that started January 22, according to news reports. The effect of these layoffs is probably not realized in these statistics. For employment data derived from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program, also known as the payroll survey or the establishment survey, the estimate is for the pay period that includes the twelfth day of the month. For data from the Current Population Survey, which counts people, the estimate is for the “reference week,” which is usually the week that includes the twelfth day of the month.
Photo credit Dorrell Tibbs