Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for October 2016 was 5.1 percent from a revised 5 percent in September 2016, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.
The preliminary October 2016 jobless rate was 0.4 percentage points lower than the 5.5 percent rate recorded for the state in October 2015.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for October 2016 was 4.9 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 October 2016, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 1,996,795, an increase of 14,997 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment was up by 12,931, and the number of unemployed increased by 2,066.
“In October, our labor force had the single largest increase in over 40 years. It’s a credit to our economy that even with the entry of nearly 15,000 new workers into the market, the unemployment rate stayed at around 5 percent,” said economist Manoj Shanker of the OET. “The labor force surge is a result of the 3 percent increase in average hourly earnings in the private sector.”
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 remained the same in October 2016 compared to September 2016 but was up 18,500 positions since October 2015.
“The October jobs report showed no change from the previous month, but nonfarm employment remains at a historical high,” said Shanker. “The biggest increase was in manufacturing, which had tepid growth for most of the year. The key news for October is definitely the solid wage 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 registered gains in employment, while three declined and one stayed the same from the previous month.
Employment in Kentucky’s manufacturing sector jumped by 2,400 jobs in October 2016 compared to the previous month. Over the year, manufacturing employment rose by 1,700. Durable goods account for two-thirds of the manufacturing sector and grew by 2.3 percent from a year ago with the addition of 3,600 jobs. Nondurable goods gained 1,500 jobs from a month ago but lost 1,900 positions over the year.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector expanded by 700 jobs in October 2016 from a month ago. This is the largest sector in Kentucky with nearly 400,000 jobs accounting for one-fifth of all nonfarm employment. Since October 2015, this sector has expanded substantially with a gain of 7,500 jobs. Retail trade declined by 800 jobs over the previous month, but gained 4,200 jobs over the year, while wholesale trade added 1,000 jobs from a month ago but fell by 400 positions over the year.
The leisure and hospitality sector gained 600 jobs in October 2016 from a month ago. Since October last year, the sector has expanded by over 1 percent with the addition of 2,300 jobs. This sector includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services.
Employment in the information sector increased by 200 in October 2016. This segment has declined by 500 positions from a year ago. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.
The financial activities sector rose by 200 jobs in October 2016 from a month ago. The sector has added 3,800 jobs since last October.
Mining and logging sector jobs increased by 100 in October 2016 from a month ago. The industry has declined by 2,200 positions from a year ago.
Employment in the other services sector, which includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services, and religious organizations, added 100 positions in October 2016 from a month ago, but was unchanged from last October.
The construction sector posted no changes in employment from a month ago. Since October 2015, construction jobs have decreased by 3,500 positions.
Kentucky’s professional and business services sector decreased by 1,100 jobs in October 2016 from a month ago. Year-over-year there was a gain of 2,800 jobs. This category includes establishments engaged in services that support the day-to-day activities of other organizations, including temporary employment services and payroll processing.
Employment in educational and health services sector dropped by 1,600 positions in October 2016, but had a robust gain of 9,100 jobs, or 3.4 percent, from a year ago. Health care jobs account for about 15 percent of all nonfarm employment in Kentucky and decreased by 800 positions for the month, but showed strong gains over the year with the addition of 10,700 jobs.
The government sector, which includes public education, public administration agencies and state-owned hospitals, decreased by 1,600 jobs in October 2016 and declined by 2,500 positions compared to 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.