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Kentucky’s February 2017 Unemployment Rate Decreases To 4.9%

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for February 2017 was down 0.1 percent from the January 2017 rate of 5.0 percent, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The preliminary February 2017 jobless rate was 0.3 percentage points lower than the 5.2 percent rate recorded for the state in February 2016.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for February 2017 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 February 2017, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,044,119 an increase of 18,982 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment was up by 19,092 and the number of unemployed decreased by 110.

“In February, our labor force increased by 0.9 percent,” said Kentucky Labor Market Information Director Kate Shirley Akers, Ph.D. “And over the last year, Kentucky’s employment has increased by 3.3 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 1,900 jobs in February 2017 compared to January 2017.

“Overall, nonfarm employment has increased by 26,400 positions, or 1.4 percent from one year ago,” said Akers. “The largest month-to-month gain in jobs was in the construction sector.”

Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to this survey, five of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors registered gains in employment, while six declined from the previous month.

The construction sector saw the largest month-to-month increase in February 2017, growing by 2,800 positions, or 3.5 percent, from a month ago. Since February 2016, this industry has added 4,700 jobs, growing by 6.1 percent.

Kentucky’s professional and business services also registered gains, increasing by 2,700 positions from January 2017. This sector has added 5,700 jobs, growing 2.6 percent, from February one 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 month to month gains in professional and business services was driven by growth in administrative and support and waste management and remediation services, which added 1,600 jobs, as well as increases in professional, scientific and technical services, which gained 1,000 positions,” said Akers.

Employment in the educational and health services increased by 800 jobs in February and has gained 4,100 positions over the year.  This year to year increase was driven by job gains in health care and social assistance.  Health care and social assistance jobs, which account for 12 percent of all nonfarm employment in Kentucky, increased by 1.7 percent from February 2016 to February 2017.

Employment in the other services sector, which includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services, and religious organizations, increased by 400 positions in February 2017 compared to a month ago.  Over the year, the sector has added 1,000 positions, growing 1.5 percent.

The mining and logging sector added 100 jobs in February 2017 from a month ago. The industry has declined by 1,700 positions from a year ago.

Employment in the information sector declined by 100 positions in February 2017, but gained 1,100 from February one year ago. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

The leisure and hospitality sector lost 300 positions in February 2017 from a month ago. Since February 2016, the sector has added 700 jobs. This sector includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services.

Kentucky’s manufacturing sector declined, decreasing by 500 positions from January 2017 to February 2017. Since February 2016, this sector has grown by 2.5 percent, expanding by 6,200 jobs.

The financial activities sector lost jobs in February 2017, declining by 500 positions from January 2017. This category includes establishments engaged in finance and insurance as well as real estate, rental and leasing. Since February 2016, however, the sector added 1,500 jobs, an increase of 1.6 percent.

Kentucky’s trade, transportation, and utilities also registered losses, decreasing by 1,200 positions over the month. However, since February 2016 the sector has added 5,700 positions, growing by 1.4 percent. This is the largest sector in Kentucky with over 400,000 jobs accounting for one-fifth of all nonfarm employment.

The government sector, which includes public education, public administration agencies and state-owned hospitals, decreased by 2,300 jobs in February 2017. The sector has lost 2,600 positions since last February.

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 http://www.kylmi.ky.gov/

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