Kentucky’s September unemployment report released

The Commonwealth’s adjusted rate remains above the national average

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 19, 2017) — Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary Sept. unemployment rate was 5.2 percent, according to the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The unemployment rate for Sept. 2017 was down from the revised 5.5 percent reported for Aug. 2017.

The preliminary Sept. 2017 jobless rate was up 0.2 percentage points from the 5 percent recorded for the state in Sept. 2016.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for Sept. 2017 was 4.2 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.  The U.S. unemployment rate for Sept. was down 0.2 percentage points from the 4.4 percent reported for Aug. 2017.

Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based on estimates from the Current Population Survey of households. It is designed to measure trends rather than to count the actual number of people working. It includes jobs in agriculture and those classified as self-employed.

In Sept. 2017, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,061,437, an increase 1,072 individuals compared to the previous month. The number of people employed was up by 6,725, while the number unemployed decreased by 5,653.

“Kentucky’s unemployment rate for Sept. was somewhat higher than it was last Sept. However, the data suggest that there are roughly 50,000 more people working than last Sept. In this case, the unemployment rate is higher because there are also more people who are looking for work,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Chris Bollinger, Ph.D. “These changes suggest that the state’s labor force participation rate has improved since this time last year.”

In a separate federal survey of business establishments that excludes jobs in agriculture and people who are self-employed, Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted non-farm employment increased by 3,100 jobs in Sept. 2017 compared to Aug. 2017. Kentucky added 30,200 jobs since Sept. 2016, a 1.6 percent employment growth.

Non-farm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to this survey, six of Kentucky’s 11 major non-farm North American Industry Classification System job sectors experienced employment growth from the previous month, while five declined.

Kentucky’s construction sector expanded by 1,100 jobs or 1.3 percent from Aug. 2017 to Sept. 2017. Since Sept. 2016, construction employment has grown by 6,800 jobs.

Employment in the professional business sector increased by 0.5 percent with the addition of 1,100 jobs in Sept. 2017. The growth within this sector occurred entirely in the administrative, support and waste management sub-sector, which added 1,300 jobs in Sept. 2017. Year-over-year there was a gain of 12,700 or 5.8 percent in the sector.

The education and health services sector expanded by 1,000 jobs in Sept. 2017 with both sub-sectors showing increases for the month. Education services increased by 200 jobs, while health care and social assistance added 800 from Aug. 2017 to Sept. 2017. The sector has increased by 2,800 positions or 1 percent since Sept. 2016. Leisure and hospitality grew by 700 jobs in Sept. 2017. Within this sector, accommodation and food services gained 800 jobs while arts, entertainment and recreation decreased by 100 positions. Since Sept. 2016, the sector has dropped by 700 jobs.

Kentucky’s trade, transportation and utilities sector rose by 600 jobs from Aug. 2017 to Sept. 2017, and was up 4,700 jobs from a year ago. Employment in wholesale trade decreased by 200 jobs from Aug. 2017 to Sept. 2017, but was still up 1,000 since Sept. 2016. Retail trade increased by 2,500 jobs from Aug. 2017 to Sept. 2017.

“From March through Aug., retail trade employment had been lower than in the previous year. The addition of 2,500 retail jobs in Sept. erased this deficit,” said Bollinger. “Retail employment is now up 700 jobs compared to a year ago.”

Also within the sector, employment in transportation, warehousing and utilities decreased by 1,700 jobs in September 2017, but was up 3,000 from Sept. 2016.

Employment in the other services sector, which includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services, and religious organizations, rose by 200 positions in Sept. 2017 and jumped by 2,400 jobs from a year ago.

Jobs in mining and logging declined by 100 in Sept. 2017. This sector has declined by 400 positions or 4 percent since Sept. last year.

The manufacturing sector declined by 100 jobs in Sept. 2017. Over the year, however, manufacturing employment rose by 800. Durable goods account for two-thirds of the manufacturing sector and grew by 200 from a year ago, while nondurable goods added 600 jobs over the year.

Employment dropped by 200 positions in the information services sector from Aug. 2017 to Sept. 2017, but has grown by 900 jobs or 3.9 percent since Sept. 2016. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

The financial activities sector decreased by 300 jobs in Sept. 2017 from a month ago, but has added 2,000 jobs since last Sept.

The government sector decreased by 900 jobs from Aug. 2017 to Sept. 2017. Federal government increased by 600 jobs, while state and local government employment decreased by 200 jobs and 1,300 jobs respectively. The sector has fallen by 1,800 positions since Sept. 2016.

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, because of the small sample size, county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

Learn more about the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics at http://www.kylmi.ky.gov/.

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