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Wichita jobs and employment, April 2020

For the Wichita metropolitan area in April 2020, the number of unemployed persons is up, the unemployment rate is up, and the number of people working is down, all by large amounts, when compared to the same month one year ago. Seasonal data shows the same trend.

Data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, part of the United States Department of Labor, shows the effects of the response to the pandemic in the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area for April 2020.

Click charts and tables for larger versions.

Total nonfarm employment fell from 306,700 last April to 274,400 in April 2020, a loss of 32,300 jobs (10.5 percent). (This data is not seasonally adjusted, so month-to-month comparisons are not valid.) For the same period, employment in the nation fell by 12.9 percent. The unemployment rate in April 2020 was 17.8 percent, up from 3.0 percent one year ago.

Considering seasonally adjusted data from the household survey, the labor force rose by 15,214 persons (4.8 percent) in April 2020 from March 2020, the number of unemployed persons rose by 50,106 (460.8 percent), and the unemployment rate was 18.3 percent, up from 3.4 percent in March. The number of employed persons not working on farms fell to 272,446 in April from 307,338 the prior month, a decline of 34,892 persons (11.4 percent).

The following chart of the monthly change in the labor force and employment shows the magnitude of change in April overwhelming other months. Note that the labor force rose.

The following chart of changes from the same month one year ago shows the same trend.

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 0.23 percent, and for the Wichita MSA, 0.69 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.

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