Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent in July from 5.5 percent in June, according to the Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Education Cabinet. The state’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate for July 2003 was 6.6 percent.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate also decreased in July to 5.5 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
“We continue to have notably lower monthly unemployment rates compared to the same month last year. This is line with other states and the national figures. Compared to July 2003, 49 states, including Kentucky, have reported lower unemployment rates in July 2004,” said Carlos Cracraft, the department's chief labor market analyst.
Five of the 10 major nonfarm job North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors had employment increases in July, while four decreased, and one stayed the same, Cracraft said. A monthly survey of business establishments revealed that Kentucky’s nonfarm employment rose by 6,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis to July’s 1,798,000 employees.
According to the seasonally adjusted employment data, Kentucky’s government sector, which includes public education, increased by 10,900 jobs in July. Since July 2003, this sector has increased by 4,200 jobs.
“All of the increase in the government sector occurred in the local education area. It’s unusual to see an increase in this area of employment from June to July, especially by this much. Variance in school districts in the timing of the opening and closing of the school year can have a significant effect on monthly employment estimates.
“Apparently, the seasonal adjustment for the government sector in July 2004 has driven up the number compared to adjustments for July in previous years. Economist make seasonal adjustments to factor out seasonal influences such as changes in weather, school openings and closings and major holidays because it makes it easier to recognize nonseasonal developments. In this case, that seasonal adjustment may have skewed the numbers somewhat in local education employment. This increase may level out when we get the August figures,” Cracraft said.
The state’s leisure and hospitality sector added the second most jobs of any sector with an additional 1,100 positions compared to June 2004. Since July 2003, the sector employment has grown by 8,800 employees.
“This sector continues to expand at a steady clip this year,” said Cracraft. “Most of the over-the-year gain was in the food services and drinking places industries.”
The educational and health services sector reported 600 more jobs in July 2004 than in June 2004. Since July 2003, the sector has shot up by 4,300 jobs.
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 300 positions in July. Over the past 12 months, the sector has added 2,000 employees.
The professional and business services sector employment went up by 100 employees in July 2004. This sector recorded 1,300 more employees in July 2004 than in July 2003.
Information sector employment was the same in June 2004 and July 2004. This sector, which includes firms involved in publishing, Internet activities and broadcasting and news syndication, had 300 more jobs in July 2004 than in July 2003.
On the negative side, the manufacturing sector plummeted by 5,200 more employees in July 2004. Compared to July 2003, the sector had 5,600 fewer employees in July 2004.
“July is the month that manufacturing facilities typically shut down for a week or two for employee vacations or to upgrade, retool or make yearly product changes. While it’s not out of the ordinary for this sector to show a decrease in jobs at this time of the year, a 5,200-position drop is larger than usual,” Cracraft said.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector declined by 900 jobs in July 2004. This sector includes retail and wholesale trade, transportation and utilities businesses, and warehousing, and is the largest sector in Kentucky with 371,400 employees. Since July 2003, the number of jobs in this sector has risen by 500 employees.
Kentucky’s construction sector reported 800 fewer jobs in July 2004 than in June 2004. Since July 2003, the sector has had an upswing of 4,900 employees.
The financial activities sector lost 200 jobs in July. This sector, which includes establishments involved in finance, insurance, real estate and property leasing or rental, has added 1,200 jobs over the past 12 months.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s monthly estimate of the number of employed Kentuckians for July 2004 was 1,882,940 on a seasonally adjusted basis. This figure is up 6,642 from the 1,876,298 employed in June 2004, and up 47,463 from the 1,835,477 employed in July 2003.
The monthly estimate of the number of unemployed Kentuckians for July 2004 was 105,465. This figure is down 4,613 from the 110,078 unemployed in June 2004, and down 24,069 from the 129,534 Kentuckians unemployed in July 2003.
The monthly estimate of the number of Kentuckians in the civilian labor force for July 2004 was 1,988,405. This figure is up 2,029 from the 1,986,376 recorded in June 2004, but up 23,394 from the 1,965,011 recorded for July 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.