EDITOR’S NOTE: Links to the unemployment rate chart and the employment chart are below.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 16, 2021) — Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary August 2021 unemployment rate was 4.3%, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC).
The preliminary August 2021 jobless rate was down by one-tenth of a percentage point from July 2021 and down 1.2 percentage points from the 5.5% recorded for the state one year ago.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for August 2021 was 5.2%, down from the 5.4% reported in July 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based upon estimates from the Current Population Survey of households. The survey is designed to measure trends in the number of people working, and includes jobs in agriculture and individuals who are self-employed.
Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 1,985,954 in August 2021, an increase of 5,170 individuals from July 2021. The number of people employed in August increased by 6,769 to 1,900,959 while the number unemployed decreased by 1,599 to 84,995.
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 rose by 20,800 jobs in August 2021 compared to July 2021. Kentucky’s nonfarm employment was up 47,000 jobs or 2.6% compared to August 2020.
“Kentucky saw strong employment growth in August,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “The state’s unemployment rate fell to 4.3% as the number of workers who found a job exceeded the number of people who returned to the labor force.”
Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to the survey, employment increased for six of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors in August 2021 while two declined and three were unchanged.
The government sector rebounded in August, adding 12,400 positions over July 2021. This represents an increase of 4.4% over July 2021. Local government jumped by 13,100 jobs in August. Federal employment was unchanged and state employment declined by 700 jobs. Total government employment was down 6,100 positions or 2% compared to August 2020.
Employment at Kentucky’s manufacturers increased by 5,700 jobs or 2.3% from July 2021 to August 2021. The durable goods subsector accounted for all of this increase with employment up 5,700 jobs, or 3.6% over July. Non-durable goods was unchanged from July to August. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment was up 14,600 positions or 6.2% since August 2020.
“The pace of hiring among Kentucky’s durable goods manufacturers picked up in August as manufacturers expanded their workforces to keep up with strong demand for automobiles and other durable goods,” said Clark. “Kentucky manufacturing has recovered nearly all of the jobs lost when the pandemic began.”
Kentucky’s educational and health services sector added 2,500 jobs in August 2021. The educational services subsector gained 300 positions from July to August while the health care and social assistance subsector gained 2,200 positions. Since last August, this sector has increased by 8,300 jobs or 3%.
The professional and business services sector gained 2,100 jobs or 1% in August 2021. Employment in the professional, scientific and technical services subsector increased by 1,100 positions. The administrative and support and waste management subsector also added 1,100 positions. The management of companies subsector lost 100 jobs. Employment in this sector was up 2,200 or 1.1% since August 2020.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector added 1,000 positions from July 2021 to August 2021. Retail trade employment was down 400 jobs in August; wholesale trade was up 1,500 positions; and transportation, warehousing and utilities was down 100 jobs. Since August 2020, employment in this sector has increased by 9,400 jobs or 2.4%.
Employment in the other services sector rose by 800 jobs in August 2021 and was up 3,400 positions since August 2020. The other services sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.
Employment in the financial activities sector was unchanged in August 2021. The finance and insurance subsector decreased by 400 jobs from July 2021 to August 2021. These losses were offset by an increase of 400 jobs in the real estate, rental and leasing subsector. The sector has grown by 3,500 jobs or 3.8% from last August.
The number of jobs in Kentucky’s mining and logging sector was unchanged from July 2021 to August 2021. This sector was down 400 positions or 5.4% from a year ago.
Employment in the information services sector did not change from July to August. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications. The number of jobs in this sector was down by 200 or 1% from one year ago.
Construction employment declined by 900 jobs in August 2021, a loss of 1.1% over July. The construction sector was up 4,400 positions or 5.8% from one year ago.
Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector contracted by 2,800 positions from July 2021 to August 2021, a loss of 1.6%. This sector was up 7,900 jobs or 4.8% compared to August 2020. The accommodations and food services subsector lost 2,900 jobs from July to August. The arts, entertainment and recreation subsector gained 100 positions.
“The decline in accommodations and food service may reflect the challenges businesses in this sector face attracting and retaining workers rather than just reduced customer demand as COVID cases rise,” said Clark.
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, due to the small sample size, county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.
To learn more about Kentucky labor market information, visit http://kystats.ky.gov/KYLMI.