Economy

Kansas Department of Labor

The latest jobs report for Kansas is a mixed bag.

Kansas’ unemployment rate fell slightly for the second month in a row, but the state Department of Labor says job growth has stalled.

According to a report released Friday, the unemployment rate for April was 3.8 percent, down from March's rate of 3.9 percent. It’s also down from April of last year, which was 4.2 percent.

Locally, Sedgwick County’s unemployment rate dropped sharply, from 4.6 in March to 3.9 in April.

Pew Charitable Trust

A report out this week from Pew Charitable Trusts found that unfunded pensions are the largest claim on future revenues in the state of Kansas.

The data set looks at the debt of all 50 states, the money owed into pension funds, and future money owed for retiree health care.

Using data from 2013, the report found Kansas has a $9.8 billion shortfall between the benefits promised to teachers and government workers and the savings available to meet those obligations.

Doug Kerr / Flickr Creative Commons

The outlook of $2.1 billion worth of highway revenue bonds in Kansas has changed from stable to negative, according to a report from the bond rating service Moody’s Investors Service.

Kansas is reporting that its tax collections last month were $2.6 million more than expected, giving state officials a small dose of good news in dealing with ongoing budget problems.

The Department of Revenue reported Monday that the state collected $584.3 million in taxes in April, when the official projection was $581.7 million. The surplus was 0.5 percent.

Abigail Wilson / KMUW

The Midwest Regional Public Finance Conference was held in Wichita today. Experts on the role of the government in the economy discussed the latest research, regulations and trends.

Kelly Edmiston, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, says the economy in the Kansas region is growing more slowly than the rest of U.S. He says the setbacks are the result of a decline in the energy and agricultural sectors.

A national credit rating service says there's at least a 50-50 chance it could lower Kansas' AA credit rating later this year, depending on how the Legislature handles the state's current budget crisis.

The Kansas City Star reports Standard and Poor's Rating Services said Monday it had placed Kansas on a "credit watch" because of the state's budget shortfall and concerns about Gov. Sam Brownback's proposal for filling the gap.

401(K) 2012 / Flickr Creative Commons

The City of Wichita waives millions of dollars in tax revenue each year in the name of economic development. It’s called tax abatement, and it allows private companies to forgo certain tax burdens for a set amount of years. The plan is to help businesses expand, improve and hire more staff. Tax abatements are a common practice in cities across the country. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur explores how these incentives work, and whether they’re effective.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Estimates for Kansas tax collections were ratcheted down sharply yesterday. The state’s projected revenues dropped by a quarter-billion dollars over the next year-and-a-half. That leaves Kansas with a budget deficit. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing plans for erasing the shortfall.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

A handful of university economists and state officials are meeting behind closed doors in Topeka today. Their objective is to come up with an accurate estimate of how much tax revenue Kansas will collect over the next year.

It’s a process the state has used since the late 70s for budgeting purposes--but it’s suddenly become controversial.

The last time the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group met, the news wasn’t good.

Flazingo Photos, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Department of Labor has released its jobs report for March. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate came in at 3.9 percent, slightly lower than February’s 4 percent.

The unemployment rate for March was also lower than March of 2015, which recorded a rate of 4.3 percent. That’s a growth of nearly 23,000 jobs, according to the Kansas Department of Labor.

The report also states that 2,500 non-farm jobs were created from February to March, most of which was seen in private sector areas like trade, transportation and utilities.

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