Wichita jobs and employment, November 2020

For the Wichita metropolitan area in November 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. The recent trend, however, is mixed.

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 November 2020.

Click charts and tables for larger versions.

Total nonfarm employment fell from 308,100 in November 2019 to 295,100 in November 2020, a loss of 13,000 jobs (4.2 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 6.0 percent. The unemployment rate in November 2020 was 7.2 percent, up from 3.1 percent the same month one year prior.

Considering seasonally adjusted data from the household survey, the labor force rose by 2,745 persons (0.9 percent) in November 2020 from October 2020, the number of unemployed persons rose by 2,007 (8.8 percent), and the unemployment rate was 7.6 percent, up from 7.1 percent in October. The number of employed persons not working on farms rose to 299,934 in November from 299,196 the prior month, an increase of 738 persons (0.2 percent).

The following chart of the monthly change in the labor force and employment in Wichita shows the magnitude of the drop in employment in April overwhelming other months, and then a positive change in employment for the following months, the months of little change, and then strong growth in October followed by little growth in November.

The following chart of changes from the same month one year ago shows a similar same trend — fewer jobs, although the difference is becoming smaller as more people return to work. The labor force is now larger than one year ago.

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 before the pandemic. In all months affected by the pandemic, we see the loss in employment Wichita has not been as severe as the nation.

The following chart shows the monthly change in nonfarm jobs for Wichita and the nation. For November, the number of jobs in Wichita fell slightly, while for the nation, the number grew a small amount. For the last five months, Wichita employment has been growing at a rate slower than the national rate.

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.

(For data on all metropolitan areas in the nation, see my interactive visualization Metro area employment and unemployment. It is updated through November 2020.)

The link to the archived version of the BLS news release for this month may be found here.

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