Kentucky’s jobless rate down in March
Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to a preliminary 6 percent in March 2006 from a revised 6.3 percent in February 2006, according to the Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Education Cabinet. March’s preliminary jobless rate was above March 2005’s rate of 5.8 percent.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate decreased from 4.8 percent in February 2006 to 4.7 percent in March 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
“The March 2006 unemployment rate of 6 percent was the lowest rate recorded for Kentucky in 10 months. Compared to other states, Kentucky was one of 16 states plus the District of Columbia that reported an unemployment rate above the U.S. jobless rate in March 2006,” said Carlos Cracraft, the department's chief labor market analyst.
“Additionally, Kentucky recorded a gain in nonfarm payroll employment of 3,000 in March 2006. Since March 2005, the nonfarm employment has grown by 23,500, making Kentucky one of 48 states along with the District of Columbia that has reported over-the-year increases in nonfarm employment,” Cracraft said.
Eight of the 11 major nonfarm job North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors had employment increases in March, while three decreased, Cracraft said. The addition of 3,000 jobs brought Kentucky’s nonfarm employment to a seasonally adjusted total of 1,839,700 in March 2006.
According to the seasonally adjusted employment data, Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector jumped by 1,200 from February 2006 to March 2006. Since March 2005, the sector’s employment has gained 5,600 employees. The sector includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodations and food services and drinking places industries.
“About 80 percent of the over-year-gain in the leisure and hospitality sector is in the area of accommodations, and food services and drinking places industries,” Cracraft said.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector recorded an increase of 1,100 jobs in March 2006. This sector includes retail and wholesale trade, transportation and utilities businesses, and warehousing, and is the largest sector in Kentucky with 381,000 employees. Since March 2005, the number of jobs in this sector has jumped by 3,800.
This sector has recorded employment increases in six of the past seven months. Most of that growth has been in the retail trade, and warehousing and storage categories,” Cracraft said.
Kentucky’s construction sector added 400 jobs in March 2006. Since March 2005, employment in this sector has risen by 1,900. Most of the hires have been in specialty trades, such as contractors involved in pouring concrete, site preparation, plumbing, painting and electrical work, said Cracraft.
The professional and business services sector had 400 more jobs in March 2006 than in February 2006. This sector reported 3,500 more employees in March 2006 than in March 2005. The professional and business services sector includes professional, scientific and technical services, and management of companies and administrative and support management, including temporary help agencies.
The educational and health services sector reported 400 more jobs in March 2006 than in February 2006. Since March 2005, the sector has shot up by 5,100 jobs.
"Approximately two-thirds of 5,100 new jobs over-the-year have been in the health care industries as health care employment continues to show strong growth,” Cracraft said.
The natural resources and mining sector recorded an increase in jobs of 300 in March 2006. Since March 2005, the sector has risen by 2,100 jobs. The majority of the employment growth in this sector since last March was in the coal mining industry, said Cracraft.
Kentucky’s information sector employment had 200 more jobs in March 2006 than February 2006. This sector, which includes firms involved in publishing, Internet activities and broadcasting and news syndication, has 600 more jobs compared to March 2005.
Employment in the other services sector, which includes such establishments as repair and maintenance places, personal and laundry services, religious organizations, and civic and professional organizations, rose by 100 jobs from February 2006 to March 2006. Over the past 12 months, the sector has lost 400 positions.
On the negative side, the government sector, which includes public education, fell by 600 jobs in March 2006. Since March 2005, this sector has gained 1,100 jobs.
Kentucky’s manufacturing sector had 400 fewer jobs in March 2006 than in February 2006. Compared to March 2005, the sector had 1,500 fewer positions in March 2006.
The financial activities sector decreased by 100 jobs in March 2006. This sector, which includes establishments involved in finance, insurance, real estate and property leasing or rental, has gained 1,700 jobs over the past 12 months.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s monthly estimate of the number of employed Kentuckians for March 2006 was 1,902,124 on a seasonally adjusted basis. This figure is up 9,731 from the 1,892,393 employed in February 2006, and up 27,698 from the 1,874,426 employed in March 2005.
The monthly estimate of the number of unemployed Kentuckians for March 2006 was 121,985. This figure is down 4,741 from the 126,726 unemployed in February 2006, but up 6,672 from the 115,013 Kentuckians unemployed in March 2005.
The monthly estimate of the number of Kentuckians in the civilian labor force for March 2006 was 2,024,109. This figure is up 4,990 from the 2,019,119 recorded in February 2006, and up 34,670 from the 1,989,439 recorded for March 2005.
Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working. Civilian labor force statistics include non-military 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 www.workforce.ky.gov.