State unemployment remains at 4.9 percent


Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for November 2015 was 4.9 percent, remaining unchanged from the revised 4.9 percent rate in October, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The preliminary November 2015 jobless rate was 0.6 percentage points below the 5.5 percent rate recorded for the state in November 2014.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for November remained unchanged from the previous month at 5 percent, 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 rather than to count the actual number of people working. It includes jobs in agriculture and those classified as self-employed.

In November 2015, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 1,935,130 an increase of 5,491 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment was up by 3,751, and the number of unemployed increased by 1,740.

“The labor market has improved markedly in 2015,” said economist Manoj Shanker of the OET. “The economy is effectively at full employment though the labor force continues to shrink, primarily due to the aging population.”

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 3,500 jobs in November 2015 from the month before, and by 33,200 positions since November 2014.

“This year we have had steady job growth. On average Kentucky has added 3,000 jobs every month during the last eleven months,” said Shanker.

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 registered gains in employment, while five declined.

Private sector jobs were up by 3,200 over the month to 1,587,000. Goods producing industries gained 400 jobs, while service-providing industries added 2,800 jobs.

Employment in the educational and health services sector posted a gain of 3,000 positions in November 2015, and an overall gain of 8,300 jobs from a year ago. Health care jobs account for nearly 90 percent of employment in this sector and had a month-to-month increase of 2,700 jobs, and expanded by 7,900 positions over the year.

Kentucky’s manufacturing sector added 600 jobs in November 2014 compared to the previous month. Since November 2014, net employment in manufacturing has increased by 7,800.

“Employment in the durable goods sector has strengthened considerably in response to a strong domestic demand for cars and trucks,” said Shanker. “Overall the durable goods sector has expanded by 5.7 percent compared to a year ago.”

The financial activities sector posted a gain of 500 jobs from a month ago. The sector has expanded by almost 5 percent during the last 12-months with the addition of 4,400 jobs.

Kentucky’s professional and business services added 500 positions in November from a month ago for a growth of 0.2 percent. There was a decline of 600 jobs over the year. This category includes establishments engaged in services that support the day-to-day activities of other organizations, including temporary employment services and payroll processing. Recently, the gains have come almost entirely from professional, scientific and technical services.

The government sector, which includes public education, public administration agencies and state-owned hospitals, gained 300 jobs in November 2015. The sector posted an increase of 900 jobs, or 0.3 percent, compared to November a year ago.

The trade, transportation, and utilities sector added 100 jobs in November 2015 from a month ago. There has been an increase of 3,200 jobs from a year ago. This is the largest sector in Kentucky accounting for one-fifth of all nonfarm jobs. More than half of these jobs are in the retail trade sector which had a net gain in employment for the year. The rest of the jobs are in wholesale and warehousing. The warehousing sector added 400 jobs while retail and wholesale trade posted increases of 100 jobs each this month.

The information sector lost 100 jobs in November from a month ago, and lost the same number of jobs from a year ago. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

The construction sector posted a seasonally adjusted decline of 100 jobs in November from a month ago. Since November 2014, construction jobs have grown by a robust 4,200, or 5.7 percent.

Employment in the mining and logging sector decreased by 100 positions from October 2015 to November 2015. There was a decline of 1,700 jobs, or 10.5 percent, from a year ago.

Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector posted a drop of 200 jobs in November 2015 from a month ago. Since November last year, however, the growth was quite substantial with the addition of 6,400 jobs for an increase of 3.5 percent. This sector includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services.

Employment in the other services sector, which includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services, and religious organizations, declined by 1,000 positions in November from a month ago. This sector posted an increase of 400 jobs from a year ago.

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.

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