KEWDC releases unemployment report

Published 10:22 am Friday, October 20, 2017

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

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

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

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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 September 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 September was somewhat higher than it was last September. However, the data suggest that there are roughly 50,000 more people working than last September. 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 nonfarm employment increased by 3,100 jobs in September 2017 compared to August 2017. Kentucky added 30,200 jobs since September 2016, a 1.6 percent employment growth.

Kentucky’s construction sector expanded by 1,100 jobs or 1.3 percent from August 2017 to September 2017. Since September 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 September 2017. The growth within this sector occurred entirely in the administrative, support and waste management subsector, which added 1,300 jobs in September 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 September 2017 with both subsectors showing increases for the month. Education services increased by 200 jobs, while health care and social assistance added 800 from August 2017 to September 2017. The sector has increased by 2,800 positions or 1 percent since September 2016.

Leisure and hospitality grew by 700 jobs in September 2017. Within this sector, accommodation and food services gained 800 jobs while arts, entertainment and recreation decreased by 100 positions. Since September 2016, the sector has dropped by 700 jobs.

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

“From March through August, retail trade employment had been lower than in the previous year. The addition of 2,500 retail jobs in September 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 September 2016.

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

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

The manufacturing sector declined by 100 jobs in September 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 August 2017 to September 2017, but has grown by 900 jobs or 3.9 percent since September 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 September 2017 from a month ago, but has added 2,000 jobs since last September.

The government sector decreased by 900 jobs from August 2017 to September 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 September 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