OVERLAND PARK, KS — The latest national unemployment and jobs figures portray a labor market that is moving closer to normal, but the country still has a record number of job openings.
The unemployment rate in the Overland Park area has largely improved since the beginning of the pandemic and there was some improvement from March to April, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Johnson County’s unemployment rate was 2.7 percent in April, which was down from 3.1 percent in March. That reflected significant improvement from April 2020, when the unemployment rate stood at 11.3 percent.
Johnson County’s April unemployment rate is lower than Kansas’s 3.4 percent rate, according to the latest local figures from the BLS.
The United States added 559,000 non-farm jobs in May, and the unemployment rate declined 0.3 percentage points to 5.8 percent.
Initial weekly unemployment claims in late May dropped to the lowest level since March 14, 2020, according to the BLS. There were about 385,000 seasonally adjusted initial claims, which was a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week; it also marked the fifth consecutive week of declines.
The country hasn’t fully recovered from the pandemic. Payroll employment is down 5 percent from pre-pandemic levels. The number of long-term unemployed people fell 431,000 in May to 3.8 million, but that is still up from 2.6 million in February 2020.
The labor force participation rate was 61.6 percent, which has been nearly constant since June 2020 and is about 1.7 percentage points lower than in February 2020.
Job openings remain plentiful, with a record 8.1 million job openings across the country at the end of March — led the way by the sectors for food service and accommodation, local and government education and arts, entertainment and recreation. The number of layoffs reached a record low of 1.5 million, according to BLS.