KY Education and Workforce Development Cabinet releases January 2018 unemployment report

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary January unemployment rate was 4.3 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 January 2018 was down from the revised 4.5 percent reported for December 2017.

The preliminary January 2018 jobless rate was down 0.9 percentage points from the 5.2 percent recorded for the state in January 2017.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for January 2018 was unchanged from the 4.1 percent reported for December 2017, 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 in the number of people working. It includes jobs in agriculture and individuals who are self-employed.

In January 2018, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,049,675, a decrease of 4,038 individuals compared to the previous month. The number of people employed was up by 1,382, while the number unemployed decreased by 5,420.

“Data from the household survey indicates that more people were working in January,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Chris Bollinger, Ph.D. “However, the decrease in the state’s unemployment rate was due primarily to fewer individuals searching for work and participating in the labor force this month.”

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 1,800 jobs in January 2018 compared to December 2017. Kentucky added 5,000 jobs since January 2017, a 0.3 percent employment growth.

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

Kentucky’s, trade, transportation and utilities employment increased by 1,300 jobs from December 2017 to January 2018. This sector is up 8,000 positions or 2.0 percent from January 2017 to January 2018. From December 2017 to January 2018, wholesale trade decreased by 200 jobs; retail trade fell by 800; and transportation, warehousing and utilities increased by 2,300 positions.

“Transportation, warehousing and utilities has shown strong growth during the past 12 months,” said Bollinger. “This subsector has added 9,600 jobs or 8.9 percent in the past year.”

Manufacturing grew by 1,100 jobs from December 2017 to January 2018, a growth rate of 0.4 percent. The increase was driven entirely by growth in durable goods manufacturing, which added 1,100 jobs in January 2018. Non-durable goods manufacturing was unchanged from December 2017 to January 2018, but is up 1,000 jobs in the past 12 months. Since January 2017, Kentucky’s manufacturing sector has added 500 jobs or 0.2 percent.

The government sector rose by 800 jobs in January 2018. Federal, state and local government subsectors all added jobs in January. Since January 2017, government employment is down by 300 jobs or 0.1 percent.

The leisure and hospitality sector decreased by 2,500 jobs from December 2017 to January 2018, a 1.3 percent drop. The decline occurred entirely within accommodations and food service, which lost 2,500 jobs. Employment in arts, entertainment and recreation did not change from December to January. Since January 2017, this sector has lost 900 positions or 0.5 percent.

Education and health services sector dropped by 1,100 jobs in January 2018. The decrease was due primarily to losses within educational services of 800 positions or 2.7 percent. Health care and social assistance declined by 300 jobs. Since last January, the sector has grown by 1,100 positions or 0.4 percent.

“The educational services sector, which consists of private educational services, tends to vary considerably from month-to-month,” said Bollinger.

Employment in information services sector declined by 700 jobs from December 2017 to January 2018. This sector has also declined 700 jobs or 3.1 percent since January 2017. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

The professional and business services sector lost 600 jobs from December 2017 to January 2018, a decline of 0.3 percent. Since January 2017, this sector is down 2,300 positions or 1.1 percent. Within this sector, employment in professional, scientific and technical services is down 500 jobs from December 2017 to January 2018, but is up 900 jobs from January 2017 to January 2018. Management of companies added 100 positions from December 2017 to January 2018 for a growth of 0.5 percent. Administrative and support and waste management declined by 200 jobs from December 2017 to January 2018.

“Administrative and support and waste management accounts for a large portion of the losses occurring in professional and business services,” said Bollinger. “Employment in this subsector declined by 2,500 during the past 12 months.”

Construction employment decreased by 100 jobs from December 2017 to January 2018, a loss of 0.1 percent. For the year, construction employment was down by 1,600 jobs or 2.1 percent.

Employment in the other services sector was unchanged in January 2018, and is up 1,900 from a year ago. This represents a growth rate of 2.9 percent from January 2017 to January 2018. Other services includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

The financial activities sector was unchanged from December 2017 to January 2018. Since January 2017, financial activities employment has declined by 700 jobs or 0.7 percent. The real estate, rental and leasing subsector lost 100 positions from December to January. This was offset by an increase of 100 positions in the finance and insurance subsector. Since January 2017, real estate, rental and leasing has gained 200 jobs. Finance and insurance lost 900 jobs or 1.2 percent in the last 12 months.

Employment in mining and logging did not change from the 10,200 jobs reported in December 2017 to January 2018. This sector has also not changed from January 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

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