Kentucky’s jobless rate drops to 5.1 percent


Staff Report



FRANKFORT — Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for May 2016 dropped to 5.1 percent from a revised 5.4 percent in April 2016, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The preliminary May 2016 jobless rate was 0.2 percentage points lower than the 5.3 percent rate recorded for the state in May 2015.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for May 2016 was 4.7 percent, 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. 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 May 2016, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 1,980,221, a decrease of 2,448 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment was up by 2,603, and the number of unemployed decreased by 5,051.

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 600 jobs in May 2016 from the month before and rose by 23,100 positions since May 2015.

“Job creation in May was weak, with little change in nonfarm employment. The U.S. economy had a similar story: a drop in unemployment rate and low job growth,” said economist Manoj Shanker of the OET. “We are pretty close to full employment, and hiring has slowed down considerably as businesses evaluate market demand.”

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 registered gains in employment, while six declined from the previous month.

The leisure and hospitality sector posted a robust gain of 1,900 jobs in May 2016 from a month ago. Since May last year, the sector has added 3,600 jobs. This sector includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services.

“Employment in hotels and restaurants ratcheted up sharply in May in response to the steadily improving employment situation,” said Shanker.

Kentucky’s manufacturing sector gained 1,000 jobs in May 2016 compared to the previous month. Since May 2015, employment in manufacturing has increased by 2,800. Durable goods account for two-thirds of the manufacturing sector and grew by 3 percent from a year ago with the addition of 4,600 jobs, whereas non-durable goods lost 1,800 jobs over the year.

“Manufacturing employment, especially the durable goods sector, has been improving steadily since 2010. It was one of the first sectors to recover after the Great Recession, and continues to grow,” said Shanker.

The financial activities sector expanded by 600 jobs in May 2016 from a month ago. The sector has added 3,000 jobs since last May.

Kentucky’s trade, transportation, and utilities sector grew by 200 jobs in May 2016 from a month ago. This is the largest sector in Kentucky with nearly 400,000 jobs accounting for one-fifth of all nonfarm employment. Since May 2015, this sector has expanded substantially with a gain of 11,300 jobs. Retail trade lost 2,200 jobs over the previous month, but expanded by 7,100 jobs over the year while transportation and warehousing gained 2,400 jobs from a month ago and 4,400 positions over the year.

Employment in the other services sector, which includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services, and religious organizations, rose by 200 positions in May 2016 from a month ago. This sector has decreased by 1,200 jobs from a year ago.

The government sector, which includes public education, public administration agencies and state-owned hospitals, declined by 100 jobs in May 2016 and by 3,800 positions compared to last May.

The construction sector fell by 100 jobs in May 2016 from a month ago. Since May 2015, construction jobs have been down by 700 positions.

The educational and health services sector dropped by 200 positions in May 2016, but there was a robust gain of 8,500 jobs from a year ago.

Employment in the mining and logging sector decreased by 300 jobs in May 2016 from a month ago. The industry has declined by 2,800 positions from a year ago.

The information sector lost 600 jobs in May 2016. This segment has declined by 1,300 positions from a year ago. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

The state’s professional and business services fell by 2,000 positions in May 2016 from a month ago. Year-over-year, there was a gain of 3,700 jobs. This category includes establishments engaged in services that support the day-to-day activities of other organizations, including temporary employment services and payroll processing.

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.

Staff Report

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