Education and Workforce Development Cabinet
Kentucky’s jobless rate at 5.1 percent in June 2015

Press Release Date:  Thursday, July 16, 2015  
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 16, 2015) — Kentucky’s preliminary June unemployment rate dipped to a seasonally adjusted 5.1 percent from a revised 5.2 percent in May 2015, and remained below the national rate, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.


The state rate in June 2015 was 1.4 percentage points below the 6.5 percent rate recorded in June 2014.


The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate in June 2015 fell to 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent in May 2015, 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 June 2015, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 1,979,652, a decline of 16,012 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment was down by 14,335, and the number of unemployed decreased by 1,677.


“The labor market has improved steadily. We have now had 11 straight months where unemployment rates in Kentucky have been lower than the national average,” said economist Manoj Shanker of the OET.  “But there has been unusually high volatility in the Current Population Survey data resulting in some inexplicable swings in the employment 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 increased by 2,200 jobs in June 2015 from the month before, and jumped by 40,100 positions since June 2014.


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 educational and health services sector added by 3,100 positions in June 2015, and posted a robust gain of 11,900 jobs over the year.


“The first half of the year has seen a strong growth in education and health services. The job growth has been fueled partly by the introduction of more than $2 billion in expanded Medicaid services beginning in 2014,” said Shanker.


The state’s manufacturing sector grew by 2,800 jobs in June 2015. Since June 2014, employment in manufacturing has ballooned by 6,700 jobs. Durable goods account for almost two-thirds of the manufacturing sector and grew by 5.7 percent from a year ago, whereas nondurable goods jobs declined by 2 percent.


“The durable goods sector is expanding rapidly. During the first half of 2015, the number of jobs was up by more than 5 percent compared to the first half of last year,” said Shanker. “Savings from low-energy costs and an improvement in the job market has driven up the demand for consumer goods and hence production and employment.”


The financial activities sector had 1,000 more jobs in June 2015. The sector has expanded by 2,700 positions over the last 12 months.


“Preliminary data shows that the expansion is primarily in the area of finance and insurance, particularly health insurance,” said Shanker.


Employment in the other services sector, which includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services, and religious organizations, was up by 900 in June 2015 from a month ago. This sector has risen by 700 jobs from a year ago.


Employment in the construction sector increased by 500 in June 2015 from a month ago. Since June 2014, employment in construction has expanded by 2,900 positions.   


The information sector increased by 100 jobs in June 2015. This segment has declined by 500 positions since June 2014. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.


Mining and logging sector jobs declined by 200 in June 2015. The industry has lost 1,500 jobs since last June. 


Employment in the government sector, which includes public education, public administration agencies and state-owned hospitals, fell by 300 jobs in June 2015, but gained 1,800 positions since June 2014.


The state’s trade, transportation and utilities sector dropped by 1,100 jobs in June 2015. This is the largest sector in Kentucky with more than 380,000 jobs that account for one-fifth of all nonfarm employment.  Since June 2014, jobs this sector have expanded by 3,700 positions. Retail and wholesale trade together added 1,100 jobs over the year, while transportation and warehousing expanded by 2,600 positions. 


Kentucky’s professional and business services sector dropped by 1,100 positions in June 2015 from a month ago. The sector has grown by 9,100 since last June. 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 decline in business services jobs is countered by the sharp increase in manufacturing and health services. As the economy improves, businesses feel more confident about hiring and providing permanent positions to temp services employees,” said Shanker


The leisure and hospitality sector fell by 3,500 positions in June 2015. Since June 2014, this sector has grown by 2,600 jobs. This sector includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services.


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 Kentucky labor market information at