Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet Releases March 2023 Unemployment Report

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 20, 2023) — Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary March 2023 unemployment rate was 3.8%, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet (KELC).

The preliminary March 2023 jobless rate was down 0.1 percentage points from February 2023 and was unchanged from the 3.8% recorded for the state one year ago.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for March 2023 was 3.5%, which was down 0.1 percentage points from February 2023, 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 2,042,066 in March 2023, an increase of 388 individuals from February 2023. The number of people employed in March rose by 3,111 to 1,965,027 while the number of unemployed decreased by 2,723 to 77,039.

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 9,400 jobs in March 2023 compared to February 2023. Kentucky’s nonfarm employment was up 49,800 jobs or 2.6% compared to March 2022.

“Strong hiring during the first three months of the year has helped keep Kentucky’s unemployment rates at historic lows,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “While Kentucky saw slightly more people in the labor market in March, increased hiring among businesses has allowed more of Kentucky’s workforce to move from being unemployed to having a job.”

Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to the survey, employment increased for eight of Kentucky’s major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors in March 2023 and decreased for three.

Kentucky’s educational and health services sector gained 2,700 positions in March 2023. Employment in the health care and social assistance subsector added 2,200 jobs in March while the educational services subsector rose by 500 jobs. Since last March, this sector has grown by 11,400 jobs or 4%.

Construction employment jumped by 2,600 jobs in March 2023 or 3.1% from February and was up 4,400 positions or 5.4% from one year ago.

“Despite higher interest rates cooling off the national housing market, Kentucky’s construction employers reported significant increases in employment,” said Clark.

Employment in Kentucky’s manufacturing sector rose by 1,800 jobs from February 2023 to March 2023. Durable goods manufacturing employment was up 1,200 jobs in March. Non-durable goods manufacturers added 600 jobs. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment was up 10,300 positions or 4.2% since March 2022.

Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector added 1,600 positions from February 2023 to March 2023, a gain of 0.8%. This sector added 4,900 jobs or 2.5% compared to March 2022. Employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation subsector increased by 600 jobs from February to March. The accommodations and food services subsector increased by 1,000 jobs in March.

Employment in Kentucky’s trade, transportation and utilities sector increased by 1,400 jobs from February to March. Employment was up 7,600 jobs or 1.8% compared to a year ago. While the retail trade subsector lost 100 jobs from February to March, these losses were more than offset by increases of 700 jobs in the wholesale trade subsector and 800 jobs in the transportation, warehousing and utilities subsector.

Government sector employment grew by 700 jobs from February 2023 to March 2023. Employment was up 100 jobs in the federal government; 200 positions in state government; and 400 jobs in local government. Employment in the total government sector rose by 6,600 positions or 2.2% compared to March 2022.

The other services sector added 300 jobs in March 2023. This sector had 2,400 more positions compared to March 2022. This sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

Employment in Kentucky’s mining and logging sector was up 100 positions in March. This sector had 800 more jobs compared to March 2022.

Employment in the information services sector decreased by 100 jobs in March. 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 grew by 900 or 4.3% from one year ago.

The financial activities sector fell by 700 jobs from February 2023 to March 2023. Employment decreased by 600 jobs in the finance and insurance subsector from February to March and by 100 jobs in the real estate, rental and leasing subsector. The financial activities sector decreased by 2,000 jobs compared to last March.

“Kentucky’s financial activities sector has now shown several months of decline,” said Clark. “The decrease occurred mainly among jobs in the finance and insurance subsector, which lost many of the employment gains that occurred after the pandemic.”

Employment in Kentucky’s professional and business services sector lost 1,000 jobs or 0.4% in March 2023. Employment decreased by 700 jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services subsector; 100 jobs in the management of companies subsector; and 200 jobs in the administrative, support and waste management subsector. Employment in this sector increased by 2,500 jobs or 1.1% since March 2022.

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.

Visit the Kentucky Center for Statistics website to learn more about Kentucky labor market information.

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