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Kentucky’s Unemployment Rate Remains At 4.8 Percent In December 2016

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was unchanged from November 2016 to December 2016 at 4.8 percent, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The preliminary December 2016 jobless rate was 0.9 percentage points lower than the 5.7 percent rate recorded for the state in December 2015.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for December 2016 was 4.7 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 December 2016, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,016,835, an increase of 11,903 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment was up by 11,715, while the number of unemployed increased by 188.

“In December, our labor force increased by .6 percent,” said Kentucky Labor Market Information Director Kate Shirley Akers, Ph.D. “Over the last year, Kentucky has seen growth in both the labor force and the number of employed, with the labor force growing by 3.3 percent and employment increasing by 4.3 percent.”

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 800 jobs in December 2016 compared to November 2016.

“Overall, nonfarm employment has increased by 11,000 positions or .6 percent from one year ago,” said Akers. “The largest month-to-month gain in jobs was in the trade, transportation and utilities sector.”

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 trade, transportation and utilities sector expanded by 2,100 jobs in December 2016 from November 2016. This is the largest sector in Kentucky with nearly 400,000 jobs accounting for one-fifth of all nonfarm employment. Since December 2015, this sector has expanded by 8,100 jobs.

“The month-to-month increase in the trade, transportation and utilities sector was driven by gains in retail trade. This area added 2,400 jobs from November 2016 to December 2016,” said Akers.

The financial activities sector rose by 1,700 jobs in December 2016 from November 2016. The sector has added 5,700 jobs or 6 percent since December 2015.

“The financial activities sector had the largest month-to-month percent growth among the sectors at 1.7 percent,” said Akers. “The increase was in the finance and insurance subsector.”

Employment in the information sector grew by 400 in December 2016, but had a drop of 400 jobs from December 2015. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

The educational and health services sector rose by 200 positions in December 2016, and had a gain of 6,300 jobs or 2.3 percent from December 2015. Health care jobs, which account for about 13 percent of all nonfarm employment in Kentucky, increased by 7,900 jobs from December 2015 to December 2016.

Employment in Kentucky’s manufacturing sector jumped by 900 jobs in December 2016 compared to November 2016. Over the year, manufacturing employment rose by 500. Durable goods account for two-thirds of the manufacturing sector and grew by 1.6 percent from a year ago with the addition of 2,500 jobs. Nondurable goods lost 2,000 jobs from December 2015.

Mining and logging sector jobs increased by 100 in December 2016 from November 2016. The industry has declined by 1,900 positions from a year ago.

The government sector, which includes public education, public administration agencies and state-owned hospitals, decreased by 100 jobs in December 2016 and declined by 2,600 positions compared to December 2015.

The construction sector fell by 1,500 jobs in December 2016 from November 2016. Since December 2015, construction jobs have decreased by 5,000 positions.

Kentucky’s professional and business services sector lost 1,800 jobs in December 2016 from the month before but remained steady from a year ago. 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 leisure and hospitality sector declined by 1,100 jobs in December 2016 from November 2016. Since December 2015, the sector has added by 100 jobs. This sector includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services.

Employment in the other services sector, which includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services, and religious organizations, decreased by 100 positions in December 2016 compared to the month before, but gained 200 positions since December 2015.

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.

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