Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate stayed at 4.5 percent from November to December, according to the Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Education Cabinet. The December 2004 rate was notably below December 2003’s jobless rate of 6 percent.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted December jobless rate remained at the November level of 5.4 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
“In December 2004, Kentucky’s unemployment rate of 4.5 percent ranked 21 lowest among all states, with one other state having the same unemployment rate as Kentucky’s. However, 28 states and the District of Columbia reported rates greater than 4.5 percent,” said Carlos Cracraft, the department's chief labor market analyst. “Kentucky’s unemployment rate has been significantly lower in 2004 than 2003.”
Five of the 10 major nonfarm job North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors had employment increases in December, while three decreased and two stayed the same, Cracraft said. A monthly survey of business establishments revealed that Kentucky’s nonfarm employment fell by 200 on a seasonally adjusted basis to 1,800,200 in December. Since December 2003, nonfarm employment has gone up 14,500.
According to the seasonally adjusted employment data, the state’s construction sector had the largest employment increase with 500 more workers in December than in November. Since December 2003, employment in this sector has shot up by 4,900.
The professional and business services sector employment also went up by 500 employees from November 2004 to December 2004. This sector recorded 500 fewer employees in December 2004 than December 2003.
The educational and health services sector reported 300 more jobs in December 2004 than in November 2004. Since December 2003, the sector has added 3,600 jobs.
“The educational and health services sector has added employment in seven of the past eight months,” said Cracraft.
Kentucky’s information sector employment rose by 200 jobs in December 2004. This sector, which includes firms involved in publishing, Internet activities and broadcasting and news syndication, had 200 fewer jobs since December 2003.
The financial activities sector added 200 jobs in December. This sector, which includes establishments involved in finance, insurance, real estate and property leasing or rental, has increased by 1,200 jobs over the past 12 months.
The state’s trade, transportation and utilities sector, employment was the same in November 2004 and December 2004. This sector includes retail and wholesale trade, transportation and utilities businesses, and warehousing, and is the largest sector in Kentucky with 372,200 employees. Since December 2003, the number of jobs in this sector has increased by 1,000 employees.
Kentucky’s government sector, which includes public education, was unchanged in December. Since December 2003, this sector has dropped by 1,900 jobs.
On the negative side of the ledger, 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, decreased by 800 jobs in December. Over the past 12 months, the sector has added 1,300 employees.
The state’s manufacturing sector decreased by 700 jobs in December. Compared to December 2003, the sector had 4,100 fewer employees in December 2003.
Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector fell by 500 jobs in December 2004. Since December 2003, the sector’s employment has grown by 8,900 employees. The sector includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodations and food services and drinking places industries.
“This December decrease was only the second time in the past eight months that this sector has lost employment. About 75 percent of the over-the-year gain of 8,900 was in the food services and drinking places industries,” said Cracraft.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s monthly estimate of the number of employed Kentuckians for December 2004 was 1,890,271 on a seasonally adjusted basis. This figure is down 831 from the 1,891,102 employed in November 2004, but up 43,835 from the 1,846,436 employed in December 2003.
The monthly estimate of the number of unemployed Kentuckians for December 2004 was 88,885. This figure is down 212 from the 89,097 unemployed in November 2004, and down 28,284 from the 117,169 Kentuckians unemployed in December 2003.
The monthly estimate of the number of Kentuckians in the civilian labor force for December 2004 was 1,979,156. This figure is down 1,043 from the 1,980,199 recorded in November 2004, but up 15,551 from the 1,963,605 recorded for December 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.