Wichita mayoral candidates respond to unemployment rates

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Now Hiring sign (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas reports that its unemployment rate remained at 4.2 percent in January and the state’s private-sector employment grew over the previous year.

The state Department of Labor noted Friday that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was significantly better than the 4.7 percent reported in January 2014.

Kansas January 2014 Unemployment
Kansas January 2014 Unemployment

The state said 1.14 million Kansas residents held private-sector jobs in January, about 17,100 more than in January 2014. The growth was about 1.5 percent.

Government employment also was slightly higher in January than in January 2014.

The department said leisure and hospitality businesses saw the most robust employment growth over the year. They employed almost 126,000 people in January. That was 4,200 more than in January 2014, an increase of 3.5 percent.

But employment in manufacturing and mining declined.

In January 2015, in Sedgwick County, the unemployment rate was higher, at 5.3 percent.

In Wichita, in January 2015, the unemployment rate was 5.6 percent.

KSN spoke with Wichita mayoral candidates, Jeff Longwell and Sam Williams, at Friday’s Pachyderm Club during the organization’s candidate forum.

Both men tell KSN News that the city of Wichita needs to reinvent itself, to a degree, to improve the local economy.

“It’s time for Wichita to finally diversify,” said Sam Williams.

“We just have to be more diversified,” said Jeff Longwell.

Both men say that the approach to create jobs in Wichita must be changed.

“We’ve got to get them back to working without stealing from the pockets of other taxpayers to give to companies that just simply say they’re going to grow jobs,” said Longwell. “We can do it without throwing that cash out there.”

“Government doesn’t create jobs. Private enterprise creates jobs,” explained Williams. “So, let’s get away from the incentive business and let’s get into making sure our city is the greatest place it can be and then businesses will create jobs.”

RELATED LINK | January 2015 Highlights


LR Jan2015 SAPrivateCES Chart LR Jan2015 SALAUS Chart


RELATED LINK | County Breakdown of the Numbers

Map January 2015 LAUS




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