KY Education and Workforce Development Cabinet releases October 2017 unemployment report

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary October unemployment rate was 5 percent, according to the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics (KCEWS), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The unemployment rate for October 2017 was down from the revised 5.2 percent reported for September 2017.

The preliminary October 2017 jobless rate was up 0.1 percentage points from the 4.9 percent recorded for the state in October 2016.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for October 2017 was 4.1 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The U.S. unemployment rate for October was down 0.1 percentage points from the 4.2 percent reported for September 2017.

Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based on estimates from the Current Population Survey of households. It is designed to measure trends in the number of people working. It includes jobs in agriculture and individuals who are self-employed.

In a federal survey of business establishments that excludes jobs in agriculture and people who are self-employed, Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment decreased by 1,900 jobs in October 2017 compared to September 2017. Kentucky added 28,600 jobs since October 2016, a 1.5 percent employment growth.

In October 2017 according to a separate survey, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,061,944, an increase of 95 individuals compared to the previous month. The number of people employed was up by 4,407, while the number unemployed decreased by 4,312.

“The household survey showed that more Kentucky residents were employed in October than September. The business survey suggests that employers had fewer payroll jobs in October. Even with an improving employment situation, decreases occur occasionally. This occurred most recently in June, which was followed by three months of growth,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Chris Bollinger, Ph.D. “Overall, Kentucky’s employment trend has been positive.”

Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to this survey, four of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors experienced employment growth from the previous month. Six sectors declined from the previous month and one did not change.

Kentucky’s education and health services sectors added 1,400 jobs from September 2017 to October 2017. Within the sector, employment in health care and social assistance decreased by 100 jobs. This was more than offset by the addition of 1,500 jobs in educational services. Since last October, the sector has grown by 3,000 positions.

The government sector increased by 300 jobs from September 2017 to October 2017, but was down by 1,800 from last October. State government employment increased by 900 jobs from September to October, but was down 1,000 jobs from October 2016. Local government employment increased by 500 jobs in October but had 100 fewer jobs than in October 2016. Federal employment fell by 1,100 jobs in October, offsetting most of the increases in state and local government employment for the month.

The information services sector gained 500 jobs from September 2017 to October 2017. This sector has grown by 1,500 jobs or 6.6 percent since October 2016. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

Employment in the other services sector rose by 200 jobs in October 2017, up 3,000 from a year ago. This represents a growth rate of 0.3 percent from September 2017 to October 2017 and 4.6 percent from October 2016 to October 2017. Other services includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

Employment in mining and logging did not change in October 2017. This sector has declined by 600 positions or 5.9 percent since October last year.

Construction employment declined by 1,600 jobs from September 2017 to October 2017 for a drop of 1.9 percent. While construction jobs declined for the month, they were up 5,600 jobs or 7.3 percent since October 2016.

The financial activities sector lost 800 jobs in October. The decrease occurred entirely in the finance and insurance subsector. The real estate, rental and leasing subsector was unchanged in October. Overall, financial activities sector is up 700 jobs or 0.7 percent from last year.

Trade, transportation and utilities employment has decreased by 400 jobs since September 2017. Employment in wholesale trade decreased by 300 jobs in October, while retail trade declined by 1,200 jobs. Since last October, the sector has expanded by 5,900 jobs or 1.5 percent.

Employment in retail trade has been somewhat volatile the past couple of months. In September, retail trade added 2,500 making up a deficit that existed earlier in the year. In October, retail trade gave up some of these gains,” said Bollinger. “Currently, retail trade has about 600 more jobs than it did in October last year.”

Within the sector, transportation, warehousing and utilities rose by 1,100 jobs from September 2017 to October 2017. Since October 2016, employment in this subsector is up 5,100 jobs, a 4.7 percent growth rate.

Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector decreased by 800 jobs in October 2017. Within this sector, accommodation and food services fell by 500 jobs while arts, entertainment and recreation dropped by 300 jobs.

The professional and business sector decreased 400 jobs in October 2017. However, since October 2016, this sector has expanded by 10,600 jobs, a 4.8 percent growth rate. Within this sector, employment in administrative, support and waste management declined by 1,400 jobs from September 2017 to October 2017. Professional, scientific and technical services employment was up 1,000 jobs from September 2017 to October 2017. Since October 2016, professional, scientific and technical services employment was up 7,500 jobs or 9.9 percent.

Manufacturing employment shrunk by 300 jobs from September 2017 to October 2017. Durable goods manufacturing increased by 100 jobs in October while nondurable goods decreased by 400 jobs. The sector has added 800 positions since last October.

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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