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Kentucky's unemployment rate increases to 5.1% in April 2017
May 18, 2017

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary April unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The unemployment rate for April 2017 was up 0.1 percentage points from the 5 percent reported in March 2017.

The preliminary April 2017 jobless rate was 0.1 percentage points higher than the 5 percent rate recorded for the state in April 2016.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for April 2017 was 4.4 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 April 2017, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,082,476, an increase of 17,282 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment was up by 14,832, while the number of unemployed increased by 2,450.

“The data suggests Kentucky’s employment situation continues to improve as more residents are working,” said Kentucky Labor Market Information Director Kate Shirley Akers, Ph.D.

Akers said that the unemployment rate increased because more individuals are entering the labor market. “The increase in the unemployed rate for April appears to reflect workers who are returning to the labor force. Individuals who stopped looking for work over the past few years appear to be searching for employment again as the state’s economy has improved,” she said.

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 April 2017 compared to March 2017.

“The establishment survey indicates employment increased in April, however the number of jobs added in April was lower than in the past few months,” Akers said.

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 five declined from the previous month and one was unchanged.

Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector showed the largest month-to-month increase in April 2017, growing by 1,600 jobs. This sector includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services.

The construction sector and the education and health services sector each added 1,500 jobs in April 2017.

Employment in Kentucky’s construction sector for April 2017 was 4,000 higher than in April 2016. This represents an increase of 5.2 percent. The education and health services sector was also 4,000 or 1.5 percent higher in April 2017 than in April 2016.

The financial activities sector added 500 jobs in April 2017. Since April 2016, this sector gained 2,600 jobs or 2.8 percent.

Other services, which includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services, and religious organizations, increased by 800 jobs since March 2017 and 1,900 since April 2017.

Information sector jobs remained steady in April 2017 but has risen by 1,200 jobs since April 2016. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

Manufacturing declined by 2,900 jobs since March 2017. “Manufacturing employment varies from month-to month. While April showed a decline, the number of manufacturing jobs in Kentucky has steadily increased since the recession,” Akers said.

Since April 2016, manufacturing was up 4,200 jobs or 1.7 percent. Most of the decrease from March 2017 to April 2017 was in durable manufacturing, which accounted for 2,500 of the 2,900 decrease in manufacturing. Nondurable manufacturing accounted for the remainder of the decrease this month.

Trade, transportation, and utilities sector decreased by 1,300 from March 2017 to April 2017. Since April 2016, this sector is up 4,400 jobs or 1.1 percent.

Government employment declined by 500 jobs in April. Government jobs include public education, public administration agencies and state-owned hospitals.

Professional and business services declined by 400 jobs from March 2017 to April 2017. Over the past 12 months, however, this sector has increased by 7,900 jobs or 3.7 percent.

The mining and logging sector declined by 200 jobs in April 2017.

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 Office of Employment and Training at http://www.kylmi.ky.gov/.

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