Kentucky’s unemployment rate drops to 4.9 percent in July 2016


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 18, 2016) – Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for July 2016 dipped to 4.9 percent from a revised 5 percent in June 2016, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The preliminary July 2016 jobless rate was 0.4 percentage points lower than the 5.3 percent rate recorded for the state in July 2015.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for July 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 July 2016, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 1,967,839, a decrease of 6,183 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment was down 4,100, and the number of unemployed decreased by 2,083.

“The last time our unemployment rate dipped below 5 percent was 15 years ago in May 2001. We are now at par with the national average,” said economist Manoj Shanker of the OET. “It’s worth celebrating — as long as we remember that we still have to address our consistently low labor force participation rate.”

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 decreased by 700 jobs in July 2016 from the month before but was up 19,400 positions since July 2015.

“Losses in retail trade, construction and government jobs contributed to a disappointing jobs report,” said Shanker. “Private sector employers added 1,000 jobs in July, but when combined with the loss of 1,700 government jobs the overall picture is a net loss of 700 jobs. A soft job market means employers are under no pressure to raise wages. This is confirmed by the earnings data in July — it remained unchanged from a year ago.”

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 from the previous month.

Kentucky’s manufacturing sector jumped by 2,300 jobs in July 2016 compared to the previous month. Since July 2015, employment in manufacturing has increased by 4,300. Durable goods account for two-thirds of the manufacturing sector and grew by 4.8 percent from a year ago with the addition of 7,500 jobs, whereas nondurable goods lost 3,200 jobs over the year. 

“Kentucky is following the national trend with a strong rise in new orders and manufacturing production indexes,” said Shanker. “Even the relatively strong dollar hasn’t deterred manufacturing activity.”

The financial activities sector expanded by 1,700 jobs in July 2016 from a month ago. The sector has added 4,500 jobs since last July.

Employment in the other services sector, which includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services, and religious organizations, grew by 700 positions in July 2016 from a month ago. This sector has increased by 400 jobs from a year ago.

The educational and health services sector added 500 positions in July 2016, and had a robust gain of 9,800 jobs from a year ago.

The leisure and hospitality sector rose by 400 jobs in July 2016 from a month ago. Since July last year, the sector has added 1,400 jobs. This sector includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services.

Kentucky’s professional and business services increased by 100 positions in July 2016 from a month ago. Year-over-year, there was a gain of 2,500 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.

The information sector decreased by 100 jobs in July 2016. This segment has declined by 1,500 positions from a year ago. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

Employment in the mining and logging sector fell by 100 jobs in July 2016 from a month ago. The industry has declined by 2,800 positions from a year ago.

The construction sector dropped by 1,500 jobs in July 2016 from a month ago. Since July 2015, construction jobs have decreased by 2,300 positions.

The government sector, which includes public education, public administration agencies and state-owned hospitals, fell by 1,700 jobs in July 2016 and declined by 3,800 positions compared to last July.

Kentucky’s trade, transportation, and utilities sector lost 3,000 jobs in July 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 July 2015, this sector has expanded substantially with a gain of 6,900 jobs. Retail trade decreased by 2,100 jobs over the previous month, but increased by 5,000 jobs over the year while transportation and warehousing lost 700 jobs from a month ago but gained 1,900 positions over the year. 

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.

Learn more about the Office of Employment and Training at

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