Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet releases May 2018 unemployment report

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary May 2018 unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The unemployment rate for May 2018 was up from the 4 percent reported for April 2018.

The preliminary May 2018 jobless rate was down 1 percentage point from the 5.1 percent recorded for the state in May 2017.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for May 2018 was 3.8 percent, down 0.1 percentage points from the 3.9 percent reported for April 2018, 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.

In May 2018, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,058,417, a increase of 4,281 individuals compared to the previous month. The number of people employed was up by 3,268, while the number unemployed decreased by 1,013.

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 3,800 jobs in May 2018 compared to April 2018. Kentucky has added 15,200 jobs since May 2017, a 0.8 percent employment growth.

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 experienced employment growth from the previous month, while six sectors saw employment decreases in May.

“An increase in the number of people looking for work pushed Kentucky’s unemployment rate slightly higher in May,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Chris Bollinger, Ph.D. “However, both surveys of employment point to continued growth, with the household survey indicating that nearly 3,300 more people were working in May.”

Kentucky’s manufacturing sector expanded by 2,700 jobs in May 2018, a gain of 1.1 percent. Durable goods manufacturing increased by 2,800 jobs while nondurable goods manufacturing fell by 100 positions. Employment in Kentucky’s manufacturing sector is unchanged since May 2017.

“Manufacturing employment recovered most of the losses that occurred in April,” said Bollinger. “This suggests that the April decrease reflected volatility in manufacturing employment rather than a downward trend.”

The education and health services sector jumped by 2,000 jobs in May 2018, an increase of 0.7 percent. Within this sector, employment in educational services gained 400 positions, and health care and social assistance gained 1,600 jobs. Employment in this sector has increased by 1,600 jobs since a year ago.

“After decreasing for five months, employment in the health care and social services sector increased in May,” said Bollinger. “The increase nearly offsets the losses that occurred over these five months.”

Kentucky’s, trade, transportation and utilities employment increased by 1,000 jobs in May 2018. This sector was up 11,400 positions or 2.8 percent from May 2017 to May 2018. From April 2018 to May 2018, wholesale trade decreased by 800 positions; retail trade added 1,300 positions; and transportation, warehousing and utilities increased by 500 positions.

“The trade, transportation and utilities sector has shown consistent growth,” said Bollinger. “While the retail subsector drove much of the growth in May, the transportation and utilities subsector has been the major driver of this trend.”

The professional and business services sector gained 900 positions in May 2018 and has added 4,400 jobs since May 2017. Within the sector, employment in professional, scientific and technical services was up 100 jobs from April 2018, and rose by 2,200 jobs from May 2017. Employment in management of companies was up by 200 jobs from April 2018. This subsector is down by 700 since last May. Administrative and support and waste management gained 600 jobs from April 2018 to May 2018, and was up 2,900 positions from a year ago.

The financial activities sector gained 700 jobs from April 2018 to May 2018, an increase of 0.8 percent. This sector grew by 200 positions since last May. Within the sector, the finance and insurance subsector rose by 500 jobs and the real estate, rental and leasing subsector added 200 jobs in May 2018.

The leisure and hospitality sector dropped by 1,300 positions from April 2018 to May 2018, a 0.7 percent loss. The decrease came from the accommodations and food service subsector, which lost 1,800 jobs in May. Employment in arts, entertainment and recreation added 500 jobs in May 2018. Since May 2017, this sector has shrunk by 1,200 positions or 0.6 percent.

Construction employment fell by 1,200 jobs from April 2018 to May 2018, a loss of 1.5 percent. Over the past 12 months, construction employment was down by 100 positions or 0.1 percent.

Employment in the information services sector declined by 500 jobs in May 2018. This sector has decreased by 1,000 jobs or 4.4 percent since May 2017. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

The government sector fell by 200 jobs in May 2018. Within this sector, federal employment decreased by 400 jobs; state employment was unchanged; and local government employment rose by 200 positions. Since May 2017, government employment has dropped by 1,000 jobs or 0.3 percent.

Kentucky’s mining and logging sector decreased by 100 jobs from April 2018 to May 2018. Employment in this sector has dipped by 100 positions since May 2017.

Employment in the other services sector fell by 200 positions in May 2018, but added 1,000 from a year ago. This represents a growth rate of 1.5 percent from May 2017 to May 2018. Other services includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

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.

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