Unemployment in Kentucky up slightly in October

Published 10:00 am Friday, November 24, 2023


Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary October 2023 unemployment rate rose to 4.2%, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics, an agency within the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet.

That was up 0.1% from September 2023, and a 0.2% increase from one year ago.

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The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for October 2023 was 3.9%, which was also up 0.1% from September 2023, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,040,567 in October, down 4,559 from the previous month.  The number of people working in October fell by 5,259 to 1,955,042, while unemployment increased by 700 to 85,525.

“Although Kentucky’s unemployment rate remains fairly low, the number of people employed in Kentucky has decreased in each of the past four months,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research Director Mike Clark.  “While many of these formerly employed workers are searching for a new job, the majority appear to have left the labor market.”

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 1,500 jobs to 2,034,400 in October 2023 compared to September 2023. Kentucky’s nonfarm employment was up 52,200 jobs or 2.6% compared to October 2022.

“Kentucky’s payroll employment increased in October but at a slower pace,” said Clark. “This comes after two months of employers reporting large increases in payroll employment.”

The best performer was the Construction Sector, where employment rose by 2,400 jobs or 2.6% from September to October 2023 and was up 12,300 positions or 14.9% from one year ago.

“Estimates suggest that Kentucky’s construction sector has experienced a significant surge in employment over the past year,” said Clark. “While national construction employment grew by only 2.8% over the past year, Kentucky’s construction employment has grown by 14.9%.”

The leisure and hospitality sector fared the worst, losing 1,600 positions, 0.8% from September to October.  However, this sector reported 2,400 more jobs in October than one year ago. The accommodations and food services subsector dropped by 2,400 jobs in October.  Employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation subsector rose by 800 jobs.

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.