Home » Kentucky May unemployment rate increases

Kentucky May unemployment rate increases

The preliminary May 2024 jobless rate up 0.5 percentage points from one year ago.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 20, 2024) — Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary May 2024 unemployment rate was 4.6%, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet.

The preliminary May 2024 jobless rate was unchanged from April 2024 and up 0.5 percentage points from one year ago.  The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for May 2024 was 4%, which was up from the 3.9% recorded for April 2024, 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.

May 2024 Unemployment Rate Chart
May 2024 Employment Chart

Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,040,591 in May 2024, an increase of 6,627 individuals from April 2024. The number of people employed in May increased by 5,258 to 1,946,032 while the number unemployed increased by 1,369 to 94,559.

“Kentucky saw its labor force increase over the past four months,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “Even as more people join the workforce, we see more people finding jobs. This employment growth helped Kentucky’s unemployment rate hold steady at 4.6% in May.”

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 increased by 3,900 jobs to 2,042,000 in May 2024 compared to April 2024. Kentucky’s nonfarm employment was up 26,900 jobs or 1.3% compared to May 2023.

Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to the survey, employment increased for eight of Kentucky’s major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors in May 2024 and decreased for three.

Employment in the trade, transportation and utilities sector increased by 900 positions from April to May but was down 2,000 jobs or 0.5% compared to a year ago. The wholesale trade subsector added 400 jobs and transportation, warehousing and utilities subsector added 500 jobs. Employment in the retail trade subsector was unchanged in May.

Employment in Kentucky’s professional and business services sector grew by 800 jobs or 0.3% in May 2024. From April to May, employment rose by 200 jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services subsector; remained the same in the management of companies subsector; and grew by 600 jobs in the administrative, support and waste management subsector. The sector was up 200 positions compared to May 2023.

“After declining during most of 2023, employment in Kentucky’s professional and business services sector has increased during the first five months of 2024,” said Clark. “The gains were primarily in administrative, support and waste management subsector, which might reflect an increased use of temporary workers.”

The leisure and hospitality sector gained 700 positions in May, a gain of 0.3%. This sector reported 3,400 more jobs in May than one year ago. The accommodations and food services subsector was up by 900 positions in May. The arts, entertainment and recreation subsector decreased by 200 jobs from April to May.

Construction employment was up 600 jobs or 0.6% from April 2024 to May 2024 and up 4,800 positions or 5.4% from one year ago.

Employment in the government sector increased by 400 jobs from April 2024 to May 2024. The number of jobs increased by 200 in federal government; decreased by 100 in state government; and increased by 300 in local government. The total number of government jobs rose by 6,300 positions or 2.1% compared to May 2023.

Kentucky’s financial activities sector increased by 400 positions from April 2024 to May 2024 and was down 1,200 jobs from May 2023. The finance and insurance subsector added 400 jobs while the real estate, rental and leasing subsector was unchanged.

“Employment in Kentucky financial activities sector has also improved in recent months,” said Clark. “This sector had seen employment declines during 2023 and the first few months of 2024.”

The other services sector was up by 400 jobs from April to May. This sector had 1,800 more positions in May 2024 compared to May 2023. This sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

The number of jobs in the state’s mining and logging sector was up 100 from April to May. This sector had 700 more jobs in May 2024 compared to May 2023.

Employment in Kentucky’s information services sector fell by 100 jobs from April to May. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications. The number of jobs in this sector was down 900 from one year ago.

The educational and health services sector fell by 100 positions in May 2024. Employment in the health care and social assistance subsector decreased by 800 jobs from April to May. The educational services subsector gained 700 jobs. Since last May, this sector has grown by 15,600 jobs or 5.2%.

Kentucky’s manufacturing sector decreased by 200 jobs from April 2024 to May 2024. The durable goods manufacturing subsector gained 200 positions, but the non-durable goods subsector lost 400 jobs. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment was down 1,800 positions or 0.7% compared to May 2023.

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 http://kystats.ky.gov/KYLMI.