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Kentucky jobless rate increases slightly from a year ago; November unemployment rate at 4.4 percent

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary November 2019 unemployment rate was 4.4 percent, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC).

The preliminary November 2019 jobless rate was up 0.1 percentage points from the 4.3 percent recorded for the state in November 2018. The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for November 2019 was 3.5 percent, down 0.1 percentage points from October 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based upon estimates from the Current Population Survey of households. The survey is designed to measure trends in the number of people working, and includes jobs in agriculture and individuals who are self-employed.

Kentucky civilian labor force was 2,082,442 in November 2019, an increase of 5,472 individuals from October 2019. The number of people employed in November rose by 4,819, while the number unemployed increased by 653.

In a separate federal survey of business establishments that excludes jobs in agriculture and people who are self-employed, Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment decreased by 2,300 jobs in November 2019 compared to October 2019. Kentucky has added 23,800 jobs since November 2018, for a growth rate of 1.2 percent.

“The two measures of employment provided different indications of how Kentucky’s economy changed in November,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Interim Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “The household survey indicates that more people were working in November. However, the employer survey suggests employment declined, driven mainly by losses in retail trade. While these surveys point different directions in some months, both have shown that Kentucky’s employment has generally been trending up for the past few months.”

Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to the survey, five of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors had employment increases from the previous month while six declined.

Kentucky’s manufacturing sector increased by 2,100 jobs or 0.8 percent from October 2019 to November 2019. Durable goods manufacturing increased by 2,200 jobs, while non-durable manufacturers fell by 100 jobs in November. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment has expanded by 2,000 jobs since November 2018.

Employment in Kentucky’s educational and health services sector increased by 1,500 jobs in November 2019. This gain occurred entirely in the health care and social assistance sector. The educational services subsector was unchanged from October 2019 to November 2019. Since last November, the sector has expanded by 11,900 positions or 4.2 percent.

Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector grew by 500 positions from October 2019 to November 2019. This sector is up 3,900 positions since November 2018. The accommodations and food services subsector added 700 jobs. Employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation subsector fell by 200 jobs.

Employment grew by 200 jobs in the other services sector from October 2019 to November 2019. This sector was up by 1,900 positions since November 2018. The other services sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

Kentucky’s mining and logging sector added 200 jobs from October 2019 to November 2019, and was down 1,700 jobs, or 16.5 percent, from a year ago.

The government sector decreased by 100 jobs in November 2019 compared to October 2019. Federal government employment was unchanged; state government employment decreased by 300; and local government employment increased by 200 jobs. Total government employment has declined by 2,300 jobs since November 2018.

Construction employment fell by 200 jobs in November 2019. The construction sector was up 1,100 jobs or 1.4 percent during the past year.

Employment in the information services sector fell by 300 jobs in November 2019. This sector was down 400 positions from a year ago. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

The financial activities sector lost 500 jobs in November 2019. The finance and insurance subsector fell by 600 jobs while the real estate, rental and leasing subsector added 100 jobs. The sector was up 2,100 jobs compared to last November.

The professional and business services sector declined by 2,400 jobs or 1.1 percent in November 2019. This sector has gained 2,200 jobs since November 2018. The administration and support and waste management subsector lost 300 positions. The professional, scientific and technical services subsector was down 2,300 jobs in November and the management of companies subsector was up 200 positions.

Kentucky’s trade, transportation and utilities sector declined by 3,300 jobs in November 2019. These losses were concentrated in retail trade, which declined by 4,100 positions. Wholesale trade added 400 jobs. Transportation, warehousing, and utilities also added 400 jobs. Since November 2018, employment in this sector has increased by 3,100 positions or 0.8 percent.

Civilian labor force statistics include nonmilitary workers and unemployed Kentuckians who are actively seeking work. They do not include unemployed Kentuckians who have not looked for employment within the past four weeks.

Kentucky’s statewide unemployment rate and employment levels are seasonally adjusted. Employment statistics undergo sharp fluctuations due to seasonal events, such as weather changes, harvests, holidays and school openings and closings. Seasonal adjustments eliminate these influences and make it easier to observe statistical trends. However, due to the small sample size, county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

To learn more about Kentucky labor market information, visit the KYSTATS Labor Market Information webpage.

From Education & Workforce Development Cabinet

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