Job seekers struggle as employment in Kansas remains stagnant

WICHITA, Kansas – –  Kansas is one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to job growth.

The Kansas Department of Labor releasing that report showing Kansas unemployment is higher than the national average.

However, the state has thousands of jobs left unfilled.

Jason Bell is unemployed and been looking for a job for nearly two months.

“I was working at red guard and then took another position with another company and they decided to close the facility down in Wichita,” said Bell.

Since then, he says he’s put job applications in almost daily.

“I’ve got about 10 years experience working with different alloys and everything and it just, I don’t know why it’s so hard to find a job,” said Bell.

According to Kansas Works, there are more than 37,000 job openings across the state, with about 4,000 of those being in a 50 mile radius of Wichita.

Ken Kriz, a Regents Distinguished Professor of Finance for Wichita State University says part of the problem is the state is losing people out of their workforce and at a faster rate than surrounding states.

“Even though there are job openings in Kansas, there are fewer compared to the size of the labor force than there are nationally, that is a sign that Kansas job market is just not very good,” said Kriz.

Kriz says some people may be looking out of state now for jobs.

It’s something Bell says he’s considered doing as well.

He adds he has about three months left until he can no longer gain unemployment.

With the clock ticking, Bell says any job is better than no job at all.

“It’s to the point that if I do get an offer, I probably will take it, one step in the door is better than nothing,” said Bell.

Kansas’s job growth is the fourth worst in the U.S.,at point-one percent employment growth over the last year, with just one thousand new jobs added.

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, only West Virginia, North Dakota and Alaska are worse.

Meanwhile, some nearby states are enjoying robust job additions.

Missouri gained 30,800 jobs in the last twelve months, almost 31 times more than Kansas.

Nebraska is up 81,700 jobs,

Oklahoma is up 4,300 and Colorado is up 47,000 in the past year.

 

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