Over the last five years, almost 15,000 workers disappeared from the Kansas workforce.

During the same timeframe, the state is growing economically, with a recent monthly report showing 14,000 jobs created in the last year and unemployment at 3.3%. That’s below the national rate. 

Despite the good news, Kansas officials see a long-term challenge: having enough employees to fill the state’s jobs, especially in high-demand careers like nursing and accounting.

The total labor force in Kansas peaked in 2009 at 1.521 million, likely driven by the economic downturn that caused people to enter the labor force who otherwise wouldn’t be working. That tapered off, and by the middle of 2014, Kansas’ workforce was 1.493 million. 

By July, the number had fallen to 1.479 million.

There

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