Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet releases April 2018 unemployment report

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary April 2018 unemployment rate was 4 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 April 2018 was unchanged from the 4 percent reported for March 2018.

The preliminary April 2018 jobless rate was down 1.2 percentage points from the 5.2 percent recorded for the state in April 2017.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for April 2018 was 3.9 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from the 4.1 percent reported for March 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 April 2018, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,053,872, a increase of 3,678 individuals compared to the previous month. The number of people employed was up by 3,733, while the number unemployed decreased by 55.

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 100 jobs in April 2018 compared to March 2018. Kentucky has added 7,700 jobs since April 2017, a 0.4 percent employment growth.

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

“Kentucky’s unemployment rate remained at its lowest level in April despite a slight decline in payroll employment,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Chris Bollinger, Ph.D.

Kentucky’s, trade, transportation and utilities employment added 1,100 jobs in April 2018. This sector was up 10,300 positions or 2.6 percent from April 2017 to April 2018. From March 2018 to April 2018, wholesale trade increased by 1,100 positions; retail trade fell by 600 positions; and transportation, warehousing and utilities increased by 600 positions.

Construction employment grew by 1,100 jobs from March 2018 to April 2018, a gain of 1.4 percent. Over the past 12 months, construction employment was up by 800 jobs or 1 percent.

“Kentucky’s construction sector has shown strong growth during the past two months, adding 1,000 jobs in March and 1,100 jobs in April,” said Bollinger.

The professional and business services sector gained 700 jobs in April 2018 and has added 2,000 jobs since April 2017. Within the sector, employment in professional, scientific and technical services was unchanged from March 2018, but was up 2,100 jobs from April 2017. Employment in management of companies was also unchanged from March. This subsector is down by 800 since last April. Administrative and support and waste management gained 700 jobs from March 2018 to April 2018, and was up 700 positions from a year ago.

The leisure and hospitality sector increased by 600 jobs from March 2018 to April 2018, a 0.3 percent gain. Accommodations and food service rose by 600 positions, while employment in arts, entertainment and recreation was unchanged in April 2018. Since April 2017, this sector has lost 800 positions or 0.4 percent.

Employment in the information services sector rose by 200 jobs in April 2018. This sector has declined by 500 jobs or 2.2 percent since April 2017. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

The government sector grew by 100 jobs in April 2018. Within this sector, federal employment increased by 300 jobs; state employment decreased by 300 positions; and local government employment rose by 100 jobs. Since April 2017, government employment was down by 200 jobs or 0.1 percent.

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

The financial activities sector was unchanged from March 2018 to April 2018, but has 400 fewer jobs than last April. Both the finance and insurance subsector and the real estate, rental and leasing subsector were unchanged in April 2018.

Kentucky’s manufacturing lost 3,500 jobs in April 2018. Durable goods manufacturing dropped by 1,400 jobs while nondurable goods manufacturing fell by 2,100 positions. Since April 2017, Kentucky’s manufacturing sector has lost 3,500 jobs.

“Manufacturing employment declined by 1.4 percent in April,” said Bollinger. “While this is a large decrease, similar decreases in the past have often been followed by large increases the next month and do not necessarily signal a trend.”

The education and health services sector dropped by 100 jobs in April 2018. Within this sector, employment in educational services gained 600 positions, and health care and social assistance declined by 700 jobs. Employment in this sector has fallen by 1,300 jobs since a year ago.

Employment in the other services sector decreased by 400 positions in April 2018, but added 1,400 from a year ago. This represents a growth rate of 2.1 percent from April 2017 to April 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.

Learn more about Kentucky labor market information at

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