Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate increased slightly from 5.2 percent in February 2005 to 5.3 percent in March 2005, according to the Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Education Cabinet. The March 2005 rate was below March 2004’s jobless rate of 5.7 percent.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted March jobless rate fell to 5.2 percent from 5.4 percent in February 2005, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
“March was the second consecutive month that both employment and the unemployment rate rose. A probable explanation is that many unemployed individuals who had not looked for work in recent months have been encouraged by the improvement in the economy and have resumed their job search activities,” said Carlos Cracraft, the department's chief labor market analyst.
Civilian labor force figures do not include people who have not actively sought employment within the past four weeks.
“Kentucky’s jobless rate of 5.3 percent ranked as the 34th lowest among all states in March with one other state having the same unemployment rate as Kentucky’s,” he said.
Seven of the 10 major nonfarm job North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors had employment increases in March, while three decreased, Cracraft said. A monthly survey of business establishments revealed that Kentucky’s nonfarm employment jumped by 3,500 on a seasonally adjusted basis to 1,807,100 in March. Since March 2004, nonfarm employment has gone up 14,400.
According to the seasonally adjusted employment data, the state’s leisure and hospitality sector recorded the largest employment jump with 1,400 more jobs in March 2005. Since March 2004, the sector’s employment has grown by 4,800 employees. The sector includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodations and food services and drinking places industries.
The construction sector gained 1,000 jobs in March 2005. Since March 2004, employment in this sector has risen by 3,400. “The construction sector continues to be a bright spot in our labor market. March marked the sixth consecutive month that the construction sector in Kentucky has added employment,” said Cracraft.
The state’s manufacturing sector grew by 800 jobs in March. Compared to March 2004, the sector had 1,000 more employees in March 2005.
Kentucky’s professional and business services sector employment went up by 700 employees from February 2005 to March 2005. This sector recorded 6,000 more employees in March 2005 than March 2004.
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, increased by 500 jobs from February 2005 to March 2005. Over the past 12 months, the sector has added 600 positions.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector recorded 100 more workers in March. This sector includes retail and wholesale trade, transportation and utilities businesses, and warehousing, and is the largest sector in Kentucky with 372,700 employees. Since March 2004, the number of jobs in this sector has increased by 500.
“The trade, transportation and utilities sector has had alternating months of employment gains and losses the past five months but is still ahead of this time last year. The over-the-year gain in this sector was in the transportation and warehousing industries. Trucking activity is often considered a cyclical indicator because employment fluctuations reflect the demand for goods,” Cracraft said.
Kentucky’s government sector, which includes public education, rose by 100 jobs in March. Since March 2004, this sector has dropped by 1,700 jobs.
On the negative side, the financial activities sector lost 700 jobs in March 2005. This sector, which includes establishments involved in finance, insurance, real estate and property leasing or rental, has decreased by 2,700 jobs over the past 12 months.
The educational and health services sector reported 400 fewer jobs in March 2005 than in February 2005. Since March 2004, the sector has added 2,300 jobs.
Kentucky’s information sector employment went down by 100 jobs from February 2005 to March 2005. This sector, which includes firms involved in publishing, Internet activities and broadcasting and news syndication, had 500 fewer jobs since March 2004.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s monthly estimate of the number of employed Kentuckians for March 2005 was 1,878,645 on a seasonally adjusted basis. This figure is up 601 from the 1,878,044 employed in February 2005, and up 11,246 from the 1,867,399 employed in March 2004.
The monthly estimate of the number of unemployed Kentuckians for March 2005 was 104,886. This figure is up 2,151 from the 102,735 unemployed in February 2005, but down 7,518 from the 112,404 Kentuckians unemployed in March 2004.
The monthly estimate of the number of Kentuckians in the civilian labor force for March 2005 was 1,983,531. This figure is up 2,752 from the 1,980,779 recorded in February 2005, and up 3,728 from the 1,979,803 recorded for March 2004.
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.