Report: Kansas last in the nation for unemployment recovery

Report: Kansas has slowest unemployment recovery
Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 7:00 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A new report shows Kansas has the slowest recovery for weekly unemployment claims out of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The study from Wallet Hub is tracking the data based on the number of unemployment claims from each state.

Source: WalletHub

Six months after the start of the pandemic, 80,000 Kansans continue to apply for unemployment each week.

“The numbers were incredible, businesses were so unsure. We were seeing unemployment levels here in the Wichita area approaching 20-25%,” said President & Chief Executive Officer Keith Lawing with Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas.

Unemployment problems started in Kansas long before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In January, Boeing suspended production of the 737 MAX, and days later, Spirit AeroSystems announced layoffs.

”Unfortunately, it’s probably going to persist at a higher level compared to the rest of the state and the rest of the nation, because of the aviation industry and the impact that now goes beyond the 737 MAX,” said Lawing. “It’s also airline travel. We’re probably going to be seeing more carriers reduce their flights, and they aren’t going to be buying planes that they planned to buy.”

Layoffs continue in the aviation industry and across the state. Experts predict it could take some time for Kansas’ unemployment rate to recover.

”It’s going to be 3 or 4 years, before we are the levels we were in 2018 and 2019 as far as employment,” said Lawing.

The Kansas Department of Commerce has held four Virtual Job Fairs. The following future statewide events have been scheduled for 2020:

  • September 22-24
  • October 27-29
  • December 8-9

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