Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Releases November 2021 Unemployment Report

EDITOR’S NOTE: Links to the unemployment rate chart and the employment chart are below.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 16, 2021) — Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary November 2021 unemployment rate was 4.1%, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC).

The preliminary November 2021 jobless rate was down 0.1 percentage points from the 4.2% reported in October 2021 and down 1.5 percentage points from the 5.6% recorded for the state one year ago.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for November 2021 was 4.2%, down from the 4.6% reported in October 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 1,997,104 in November 2021, an increase of 4,866 individuals from October 2021. The number of people employed in November increased by 7,782 to 1,915,421 while the number of unemployed decreased by 2,916 to 81,683.

“Kentucky’s labor market showed additional signs of improvement in November as more people returned to the labor force and found jobs,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “Job seekers are finding work at a faster rate than people are returning to the labor force. This has pushed the state’s unemployment rate back down to levels just before the pandemic. While this is encouraging, the total number of people in Kentucky’s labor force and the number of people employed are still below pre-pandemic levels.”

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 2,600 jobs in November 2021 compared to October 2021. Kentucky’s nonfarm employment was up 34,500 jobs or 1.9% compared to November 2020.

“Kentucky businesses continued to expand their payrolls in November,” said Clark. “The state’s leisure and hospitality sector lead employment growth for the month.”

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 November 2021 while five declined.

“While employment declines within a sector often reflect reduced demand for the goods and services produced by the sector, that might not be the case in the current labor market,” said Clark. “As demand for workers in recent months has increased faster than workers have returned to the labor market, employers are competing aggressively for workers. Recent employment declines in some sectors might reflect the difficulties some businesses are having attracting and retaining workers.”

Employment in Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector rose by 1,600 positions from October 2021 to November 2021, a gain of 0.9%. This sector was up 3,400 jobs or 2% compared to November 2020. The arts, entertainment and recreation subsector added 1,200 positions while the accommodations and food services subsector added 400 jobs in November.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector added 1,500 positions from October 2021 to November 2021. Retail trade employment was up 800 jobs in November. Wholesale trade lost 400 positions. Transportation, warehousing and utilities added 1,100 jobs. Since November 2020, employment in this sector has increased by13,100 jobs or 3.3%.

Construction employment increased by 600 jobs in November 2021, or 0.7% over October. The construction sector was up 3,700 positions or 4.7% from one year ago.

The government sector added 400 jobs from October 2021 to November 2021. This represents an increase of 0.1% over October 2021. Federal government employment decreased by 200 jobs. Employment was up by 100 jobs in state government and 500 jobs in local government. Total government employment was up 2,700 positions or 0.9% compared to November 2020.

Kentucky’s educational and health services sector added 400 jobs in November 2021. The educational services subsector added 700 positions from October to November while the health care and social assistance subsector lost 300 positions. Since last November, this sector has increased by 7,800 jobs or 2.8%.

Employment in the other services sector rose by 200 jobs in November 2021 and was up 1,700 positions since November 2020. The other services sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

The information services sector lost 100 jobs from October to November. 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 300 or 1.5% from one year ago.

The number of jobs in Kentucky’s mining and logging sector fell by 200 jobs from October 2021 to November 2021. This sector was down 600 positions or 8.2% from a year ago.

Employment in the financial activities sector decreased by 400 positions in November 2021. The finance and insurance subsector lost 500 jobs from October 2021 to November 2021. The real estate, rental and leasing subsector gained 100 jobs in November. The financial activities sector was up by 300 jobs or 0.3% compared to last November.

The professional and business services sector declined by 600 jobs or 0.3% in November 2021. Employment decreased by 100 jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services subsector and by 500 jobs in the administrative and support and waste management subsector. Employment in the management of companies subsector did not change from October to November. Employment in this sector was down 7,100 or 3.4% since November 2020.

Employment at Kentucky’s manufacturers fell by 800 jobs or 0.3% from October 2021 to November 2021. The durable goods subsector decreased by 1,000, or 0.6%, from October to November. Employment in non-durable goods was up 200 jobs. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment was up 9,800 positions or 4.1% since November 2020.

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


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