The Kansas Department of Labor reported Friday that Wichita had a 5.8 percent unemployment rate in October, down from 6.1 percent a year before. Unemployment was down half a percentage point from the 6.3 percent rate in September.
However, the year-over-year change was the result of a shrinking labor force, not growing employment. Between October 2012 and October 2013, the area labor force decreased by about 3,500 people. Meanwhile, the number of employed people fell by about 2,400 to 280,661.
Individuals are counted in the labor force only if they’re employed or they’re actively seeking work.
Employment did increase month-over-month. About 600 more people were working in October than were working in September.
The Wichita area is the metro area with the highest unemployment statewide. Topeka had an October unemployment rate of 5.5 percent, Kansas City of 5.4 percent, Manhattan of 4.7 percent and Lawrence of 4.3 percent.
The metro-level data is not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations.
By comparison, the state overall had a 5.1 percent unemployment rate in October, not seasonally adjusted, down from 5.4 percent in September and 5.2 percent in October 2012.
When adjusting for seasonal fluctuations, the state’s unemployment rate clocked in at 5.6 percent, flat with the October 2012 rate and down from 5.7 percent in September.