Kansas loses private sector jobs while adding government jobs

(The Sentinel) — Through the first seven months of 2023, seasonally adjusted numbers show Kansas has lost 2,700 private-sector jobs, while adding about 5,000 government jobs.

According to numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in December of 2022 Kansas had about 1,191,600 private-sector employees, and as of July, 2023, that number had dropped to around 1,188,900 employees, a drop of 2,700.

However, state and local government entities added 4,200 employees.

Every neighboring state added government jobs, but Kansas is the only state that lost private-sector jobs.

Missouri added about 40,400 private-sector jobs and 5,000 state and local jobs.

Oklahoma added 3,700 private-sector jobs and 5,200 public-sector jobs.  Nebraska saw private-sector jobs grow by 6,200 and only 800 state and local government jobs.  Colorado also added more government jobs than the private-sector — 13,300 vs. 4,000.

While all four states saw an increase in public-sector employees, only Kansas saw a job loss in the private sector.

Gannon Evans, policy manager and analyst for the Sandlian Center for Entrepreneurial Government — which like the Sentinel, is owned by the Kansas Policy Institute — said it comes down to tax policy.  Some people move from state to state for tax reasons, but lower taxes also creates a more vibrant economy for job creation, which also prompts people to move.

“Aversion to long-term tax reform is exactly the same mindset that has mired Kansas behind other states in economic growth,” he said. “Right-sizing government and responsibly managing spending and taxation (is the fix).”

Only Iowa currently has a higher marginal tax rate on individual income, but it will drop to 3.99% when its tax relief law is fully implemented.

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