Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet releases August 2018 unemployment report

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary August 2018 unemployment rate was 4.4 percent, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The unemployment rate for August 2018 was up from the 4.3 percent reported for July 2018.

The preliminary August 2018 jobless rate was down 0.5 percentage points from the 4.9 percent recorded for the state in August 2017.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for August 2018 was 3.9 percent and unchanged from the rate reported for July 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.

Kentucky added 2,195 individuals to its civilian labor force in August 2018. This brings the state’s labor force to 2,071,098, surpassing the previous peak which occurred in November 2012. The number of people employed in August was up by 1,196, while the number unemployed increased by 999.

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 2,500 jobs in August 2018 compared to July 2018. Kentucky has added 8,500 jobs since August 2017, a 0.4 percent employment growth.

“We continue to see more individuals entering Kentucky’s labor force and getting jobs,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Associate Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “However, the growth in both the labor force and employment have slowed as the state’s labor market tightens. Growth in the number of jobs reported by employers has also slowed and declined during August.”

Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to this survey, six of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors saw employment decline from the previous month while three increased and two were unchanged.

Kentucky’s education and health services sector added 1,400 jobs in August 2018. Within this sector, health care and social assistance gained 1,300 jobs and educational services increased by 100 jobs. Employment in education and health services for August 2018 was up 900 since a year ago.

The government sector rose by 1,400 jobs in August 2018. This growth occurred entirely within local government, which added 1,400 jobs. The federal and state government sectors did not change in August. Total government employment is up 100 since August 2017.

Information services sector gained 100 jobs in August 2018. This sector has declined by 100 jobs since August 2017. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

Kentucky’s manufacturing sector shrunk by 2,300 jobs from July 2018 to August 2018, an decrease of 0.9 percent. The losses occurred within durable goods manufacturing. Employment in nondurable goods manufacturing was up 100 jobs in August. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment was down 3,700 since August 2017.

“The decreases in manufacturing employment have persisted over the past few months,” said Clark. “April, July, and August saw relatively large decreases in employment. While employment did increase in May and June, the increases were not sufficient to offset these losses.”

Construction employment declined by 1,400 positions, or 1.8 percent, from July 2018 to August 2018. Over the past 12 months, construction employment has dropped by 2,600 positions or 3.4 percent.

Kentucky’s trade, transportation and utilities sector fell by 900 jobs in August 2018. From July 2018 to August 2018, wholesale trade gained 200 positions; retail trade lost 600 positions; and transportation, warehousing and utilities lost 500 positions. This sector has added 10,800 positions or 2.7 percent since August 2017.

The leisure and hospitality sector decreased by 400 jobs from July 2018 to August 2018. The accommodations and food service subsector dropped by 300 jobs, while the arts, entertainment and recreation subsector fell by 100 jobs in August 2018. Since August 2017, leisure and hospitality has lost 1,800 positions or 0.9 percent.

The financial activities sector fell by 200 jobs from July 2018 to August 2018. This sector has gained 800 jobs since last August. Within the sector, the finance and insurance subsector decreased by 200 jobs and the real estate, rental and leasing subsector was unchanged in August 2018.

Employment in the other services sector was down by 200 from July 2018 to August 2018. Other services rose by 1,200 jobs from a year ago for a growth rate of 1.8 percent since August 2017. Other services includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

Employment in the professional and business services sector did not change from July 2018 to August 2018. This sector has added 2,800 jobs since August 2017.

Employment in Kentucky’s mining and logging sector was unchanged from July 2018 to August 2018. Employment in this sector is up 100 positions since August 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 Kentucky labor market information at http://kystats.ky.gov/KYLMI.

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