Kentucky’s unemployment rate down in October
Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 5.3 percent in September 2006 to 5.2 percent in October 2006, according to the Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Education Cabinet. October’s jobless rate was more than a percentage point below October 2005’s rate of 6.4 percent.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate decreased from 4.6 percent in September 2006 to 4.4 percent in October 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
“Kentucky’s unemployment rate of 5.2 percent in October 2006 is the lowest rate recorded for the state in almost two years. Unemployment rates in the commonwealth have been below 6 percent in five of the past six months,” said Carlos Cracraft, the department’s chief labor market analyst. “Kentucky was one of 43 states that had a lower unemployment rate in October 2006 than in October 2005, and one of 32 states that had a lower unemployment rate in October 2006 than in September 2006.”
Three of the 11 major nonfarm job North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors had employment increases in October, while seven decreased, and one remained the same, Cracraft said. The decrease of 4,800 jobs brought Kentucky’s nonfarm employment to a seasonally adjusted total of 1,846,200 in October 2006.
“The two federal surveys that produce employment indicators, the household survey and the employer survey, moved in opposite directions in October, which happens occasionally. The household survey counts the number of Kentuckians employed, while the employer survey counts the number of jobs. This October loss of jobs was primarily due to sizeable losses of jobs in the manufacturing, government, and leisure and hospitality industry sectors,” said Cracraft. “Kentucky’s nonfarm employment has increased in 12 of the past 15 months, and has jumped by 12,800 since October 2005.”
According to the seasonally adjusted employment data, Kentucky’s construction sector gained 700 jobs in October 2006. Since October 2005, employment in this sector has added 1,800 jobs. 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 natural resources and mining sector had 200 more jobs in October 2006 compared to September 2006. Since October 2005, the sector has risen by 1,400 jobs, mainly in the coal mining industry.
“After several years of gradual decline in mining jobs, about 4,200 jobs have added in this sector during the past two-and-a-half years,” Cracraft said.
Kentucky’s professional and business services sector employment rose by 100 jobs in October 2006. This sector had 2,800 more employees in October 2006 than in October 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 information sector recorded the same employment in September 2006 and October 2006. This sector, which includes firms involved in publishing, Internet activities and broadcasting and news syndication, had 100 more jobs in October 2006 than October 2005.
On the negative side of the ledger, Kentucky’s manufacturing sector recorded 2,000 fewer jobs in October 2006 than in September 2006. Compared to October 2005, the sector had 7,000 fewer positions in October 2006.
“The manufacturing sector has lost employment in six of the past eight months. Some of those have been permanent job losses, but many have been temporary in nature that occurred during the survey period for that month,” said Cracraft.
Employment in the government sector, which includes public education, fell by 1,600 jobs in October 2006. Since October 2005, this sector has gained 2,100 jobs.
“The public education portion of this sector tends to cause sharp counter-movements in the seasonal adjustment employment numbers. Employment in this sector is near the same level as in June when the previous school term ended,” Cracraft said.
Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector dropped by 1,100 jobs in October 2006. Since October 2005, the sector’s employment has jumped by 4,100 positions. The sector includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodations and food services and drinking places industries.
“This October loss of 1,100 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector nearly offset employment gains of 1,200 in the prior two months. October was one of the dampest and coolest Octobers on record, which probably contributed to the employment decline in this sector,” Cracraft said.
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, went down by 400 jobs from September 2006 to October 2006. Over-the-year, this sector had 1,000 fewer employees in October 2006 than in October 2005.
Kentucky’s trade, transportation and utilities sector recorded a decrease of 300 jobs in October 2006. This sector includes retail and wholesale trade, transportation and utilities businesses, and warehousing, and is the largest sector in Kentucky with 382,100 employees. Since October 2005, the number of jobs in this sector has increased by 3,200.
The financial activities sector had 300 fewer jobs in October 2006 than in September 2006. This sector, which includes businesses involved in finance, insurance, real estate and property leasing or rental, has gained 700 jobs over the past 12 months.
The educational and health services sector fell by 100 jobs in October 2006. Since October 2005, the sector has expanded by 4,600 jobs. This sector includes private and nonprofit establishments that provide either education and training, or health care and social assistance to their clients, Cracraft said.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly estimate of the number of employed Kentuckians for October 2006 was 1,938,531 on a seasonally adjusted basis. This figure is up 10,609 from the 1,927,922 employed in September 2006, and up 56,055 from the 1,882,476 employed in October 2005.
The monthly estimate of the number of unemployed Kentuckians for October 2006 was 105,935. This figure is down 1,150 from the 107,085 unemployed in September 2006, and down 22,322 from the 128,257 Kentuckians unemployed in October 2005.
The monthly estimate of the number of Kentuckians in the civilian labor force for October 2006 was 2,044,466. This figure is up 9,459 from the 2,035,007 recorded in September 2006, and up 33,733 from the 2,010,733 recorded for October 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.