Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 percent in August from 5.3 percent in July, according to the Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Education Cabinet. The state’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate for August 2003 was 6.2 percent.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate also decreased in August to 5.4 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
“From July to August some 15 states, including Kentucky, recorded lower unemployment rates. Kentucky’s unemployment rate has remained in the range of 5.1 percent to 5.5 percent over the first eight months of 2004,” said Carlos Cracraft, the department's chief labor market analyst. “We are more than a full percentage point below where we were at this time last year.”
Four of the 10 major nonfarm job North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors had employment increases in August, while five decreased, and one stayed the same, Cracraft said. A monthly survey of business establishments revealed that Kentucky’s nonfarm employment fell by 6,700 on a seasonally adjusted basis to August’s 1,794,000 employees.
According to the seasonally adjusted employment data, Kentucky’s manufacturing sector rebounded in August with 3,800 more jobs, the largest increase of any sector from July to August. Compared to August 2003, the sector had 2,400 fewer employees in August 2004.
“The increase in this sector in August 2004 resulted from manufacturing workers returning from retooling shutdowns and annual vacations in July,” Cracraft said.
The state’s leisure and hospitality sector added the second most jobs of any sector with an additional 500 positions compared to July 2004. Since August 2003, the sector’s employment has grown by 8,600 employees.
“This sector has added employment in six of the past seven months. The sector includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodations and food services and drinking places industries. Most of the gain in this sector since August 2003 has been in the food services and drinking places industries,” Cracraft said.
Kentucky’s construction sector reported 200 more jobs in August 2004 than in July 2004. Since August 2003, the sector has had a surge of 5,300 more employees.
The financial activities sector added 100 jobs in August. This sector, which includes establishments involved in finance, insurance, real estate and property leasing or rental, has increased by 400 jobs over the past 12 months.
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, stayed at the same level from July to August. Over the past 12 months, the sector has added 1,400 employees.
On the negative side, the government sector, which includes public education, decreased by 9,600 jobs in August. Since August 2003, this sector has fallen by 2,500 jobs.
“This 9,600-job decrease in August was expected because we saw an unusually large jump in the number of local education jobs in July that was caused by technical factors in the seasonal adjustment,” Cracraft said. “Local public education can be particularly difficult to seasonally adjust due to changes in the school calendar. Many school employees including cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers and maintenance workers are not counted as employed when schools are closed. Variance in the timing of the opening and closing of the school year from district to district have a significant effect on monthly employment estimates.”
The educational and health services sector reported 800 fewer jobs in August 2004 than in July 2004. Since August 2003, the sector has shot up by 3,100 jobs.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector declined by 400 jobs in August 2004. This sector includes retail and wholesale trade, transportation and utilities businesses, and warehousing, and is the largest sector in Kentucky with 371,000 employees. Since August 2003, the number of jobs in this sector has dipped by 1,000 employees.
The professional and business services sector employment went down by 400 employees in August 2004. This sector recorded 800 more employees in August 2004 than in August 2003.
Information sector employment fell by 100 jobs in August 2004. This sector, which includes firms involved in publishing, Internet activities and broadcasting and news syndication, had 100 more jobs since August 2003.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s monthly estimate of the number of employed Kentuckians for August 2004 was 1,879,535 on a seasonally adjusted basis. This figure is down 4,316 from the 1,883,851 employed in July 2004, but up 41,088 from the 1,838,447 employed in August 2003.
The monthly estimate of the number of unemployed Kentuckians for August 2004 was 101,195. This figure is down 5,000 from the 106,195 unemployed in July 2004, and down 20,571 from the 121,766 Kentuckians unemployed in August 2003.
The monthly estimate of the number of Kentuckians in the civilian labor force for August 2004 was 1,980,730. This figure is down 9,316 from the 1,990,046 recorded in July 2004, but up 20,517 from the 1,960,213 recorded for August 2003.
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.