The unemployment rate in Kansas declined to 3.2% in August and the state recorded expansion of 17,800 jobs in the private sector during the past year, officials said Friday.

Gov. Laura Kelly seized upon the latest monthly report as evidence of an economy capable of job growth and lowering of the jobless rate. It has been about 20 years since the Kansas unemployment figure moved under 3.3%.

"This is good news for Kansas," she said. "My administration is focused on creating quality jobs throughout Kansas."

She pointed to an increase in the average nominal weekly earnings among Kansans by $48.51, or 5.9%, during the past 12 months. It represented a sign the state's economy was recovering from policy advanced by former Govs. Sam Brownback and Jeff Colyer from 2011 to 2019.

"The positive job and wage growth in the past year is a good sign as we continue to recover from the failed Brownback-Colyer tax experiment," Kelly said. "We're continuing to work toward policies that move Kansas forward, by promoting economic growth, seeking sensible tax reforms and implementing strategies that improve our workforce statewide."

In August, the unemployment rate declined to 3.2% from the 3.3% figure in July.

Preliminary estimates by the Kansas Department of Labor and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate the labor force expanded by 1,400 and the pool of unemployed declined by 1,000 in August. The total nonfarm jobs in Kansas surged 7,900 and the number of private-sector positions climbed by 4,200.

Four industries contributed at least 1,000 jobs each to that expansion, said Delia Garcia, secretary of the state Department of Labor.

"Kansas has seen significant growth in the number of private sector jobs compared to last August," said Emilie Doerksen, a state labor economist. "This has been broad economic growth, with all 10 of the major private sector industries either remaining stable or adding jobs over the year."