FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sep. 19, 2019) — Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary August 2019 unemployment rate was 4.4 percent, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The unemployment rate for August 2019 was up from the 4.3 percent reported for July 2019.
The preliminary August 2019 jobless rate was unchanged from the 4.4 percent recorded for the state in August 2018.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for August 2019 was 3.7 percent, unchanged from July 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based on estimates from the Current Population Survey of households. The survey is designed to measure trends in the number of people working. It includes jobs in agriculture and individuals who are self-employed.
Kentucky civilian labor force was 2,071,392 in August 2019, an increase of 3,192 individuals from July 2019. The number of people employed in August was up by 985, while the number unemployed increased by 2,207.
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 3,500 jobs in August 2019 compared to July 2019. Kentucky has added 19,400 jobs since August 2018, for a growth rate of 1.0 percent.
“Losses in durable goods manufacturing and professional business services contributed to lower nonfarm payroll employment in August,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Interim Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “The household survey indicates that workers entered the labor force at a faster rate than they were finding jobs. This pushed August’s unemployment rate up, even though more people worked in August than in July.”
Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to this survey, five of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors saw employment increases from the previous month while six declined.
Kentucky’s trade, transportation and utilities sector gained 1,500 jobs in August 2019. Within this sector, retail trade, and the transportation, warehousing and utilities subsectors each added 900 jobs from July to August. Since August 2018, employment in this sector was up by 4,100 positions or 1 percent.
Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector grew by 900 positions from July 2019 to August 2019. This sector is up 3,100 positions since August 2018. Within this sector, employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation fell by 500 jobs, while accommodations and food services increased by 1,400 jobs.
Employment in the information services sector rose by 100 jobs in August 2019. This sector was unchanged since August 2018. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.
Financial activies sector jobs increased by 100 jobs in August 2019. This increase occurred in the finance and insurance subsector. Employment in the real estate, rental and leasing subsector was unchanged in August. The sector was up 500 jobs compared to last August.
Employment increased by 100 jobs in the other services sector from July 2019 to August 2019. This sector was up by 800 positions since August 2018. The other services sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.
Employment in Kentucky’s educational and health services sector fell by 100 jobs in August 2019. The educational services subsector lost 300 jobs, while health care and social assistance subsector added 200 jobs. Since last August, the sector has expanded by 9,500 positions or 3.4 percent.
Kentucky’s mining and logging sector decreased by 200 jobs from July 2019 to August 2019, and was down 500 jobs from a year ago.
Construction employment fell by 500 jobs in August 2019. The construction sector was up 500 jobs or 0.6 percent during the past year.
The government sector decreased by 700 jobs in August 2019 compared to July 2019. Federal government employment increased by 300; state government fell by 200 jobs; and local government declined by 800 jobs. Total government employment has fallen by 800 jobs since August 2018.
Kentucky’s manufacturing sector declined by 1,700 jobs or 0.7 percent from July 2019 to August 2019. The decrease occurred mostly in durable goods manufacturing, which lost 2,300 jobs. Non-durable goods manufacturing added 600 from July 2019 to August 2019. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment has expanded by 3,600 jobs since August 2018.
“The decrease in Kentucky’s durable goods manufacturing subsector is consistent with concerns that current trade policy could be dampening manufacturing growth,” said Clark. “However, it is too early to know whether this will persist or just be a temporary decrease.”
The professional and business services sector employment fell by 3,000 jobs or 1.4 percent in August 2019. This sector was down 1,400 jobs since August 2018. The month-over-month losses occurred primarily in the administration and support and waste management subsector, which fell by 2,900 jobs in August. Employment in the professional, scientific and technical services subsector fell by 200 jobs. Management of companies was up 100 positions.
“The jobs losses in professional and business services accounted for a large share of the state’s total employment decrease in August,” said Clark. “However, while this sector often experiences monthly fluctuations, the overall trend has been fairly stable.”
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 Kentucky labor market information at http://kystats.ky.gov/KYLMI.