August Employment in Kansas: First Read

Updated 9/20 to reflect BLS state level employment data

The Kansas Department of Labor released some limited numbers regarding August labor market conditions today. These figures are consistent with an economic stall indicated in the Philadelphia Fed projections, discussed in this post.

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Figure 1: Missouri nonfarm payroll employment (blue), Kansas (red), US (black), in logs, normalized to 2011M01=0. Source: BLS and author’s calculations.

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Figure 2: Missouri private nonfarm payroll employment (blue), Kansas (red), US (black), in logs, normalized to 2011M01=0. Source: BLS and author’s calculations.

Comparable figures for Missouri, Kansas’s neighbor, are included in each graph. Since the August figures have not yet been reported, the Missouri figures are drawn from the July release.

For those who are interested, the Kansas unemployment rate has risen to 4.3%, from a low of 3.7% in May (and from 4.0% in the previous month). It’s important to remember that an unemployment rate is the ratio of two poorly measured variables (at the state level, at least, due to relatively small sample sizes).

Update, 1pm Pacific: Here are two pictures incorporating the household measure of total civilian employment. The first compares civilian employment against nonfarm payroll employment. The second traces out the evolution of civilian employment (including agriculture) versus a drought indicator.

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Figure 3: Kansas civilian employment (teal), and nonfarm payroll employment (red), both on log scale. Source: BLS, KLIC.

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Figure 4: Kansas civilian employment (teal) on log scale, and Palmer Drought Severity Index for Kansas (pink); lower values are drier. Source: BLS, KLIC, NOAA.

It is interesting to note that measured Kansas civilian employment has dropped precipitously even as drought severity continues to decline (and civilian employment has continued to rise in the rest of the Nation).

Update, 9/18 10am Pacific: Those interested in seeing the views of Governor Brownback’s Council of Economic Advisors should consult here.

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