TOPEKA, (KSNT)— The Kansas Department of Labor released the labor report for June on Friday, showing an increase in the state’s unemployment rate at 3.7%. However, the slight jump from 3.5% in May may not be cause for alarm.

State labor officials said the increase may be due to more people who are unemployed looking for work.

“The labor force grew in June as the number of Kansans seeking employment increased,” said Secretary
Amber Shultz. “This resulted in a slight increase in the unemployment rate to 3.7 percent.”

The department explained the labor force is made up of individuals who are employed, as well as individuals who don’t currently have a job but are seeking employment.

The unemployment rate is the number of people who are unemployed divided by the labor force. As the number of people who are unemployed starts to look for work, it’s actually pushing the percent of unemployed people up.

“Kansas nonfarm jobs increased by 8,100 in June, with the majority of these gains in state and local
government. The pandemic disrupted typical seasonal hiring patterns for public schools, which
contributed to this large over-the-month change. Even with these job gains, government job estimates remain 1.8 percent lower than pre-pandemic estimates for February 2020.”

Labor Economist Emilie Doerksen, Kansas Dept. of Labor

The increase comes amid the state’s recent push to get more people back to work.

A law passed this legislative session requires people who are unemployed and receive three consecutive weeks of payments to enter the state’s “My Re-employment Plan Program” to connect them with jobs.

Mike Beene, Director of Employment Services for the Kansas Department of Commerce, told Kansas Capitol Bureau the jobs range from healthcare to hospitality and foodservice.

“There’s a little over 50,000 jobs available, many of which are here in the community,” Beene said. “Obviously, an opportunity to connect with a transition job or a long-term career.”

Individuals who are required to enter the program receive a notification via email. However, as of Wednesday, Beene said only about half of the 16,000 people who were notified have signed up for the program.

If they don’t participate their benefits will be suspended until they join. The state’s unemployment office said the first round of claimants affected by this change starts Friday, July 16 at 12 p.m.

For an instructional video on how to sign up for the “My Re-employment Plan Program,” click here.