Department for Workforce Investment
Kentucky’s jobless rate up slightly in May

Press Release Date:  Thursday, June 23, 2005  
Contact Information:  Kim Saylor Brannock (502) 564-6606 ext. 130

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate rose from 5.6 percent in April 2005 to 5.7 percent in May 2005 as the state’s nonfarm employment increased by 2,000 jobs, according to the Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Education Cabinet. The May 2005 rate was above May 2004’s jobless rate of 5.5 percent.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate decreased from 5.2 percent in April 2005 to 5.1 percent in May 2005, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Kentucky’s employment situation in May 2005 followed the trend seen during the previous months of this year. While May 2005 was the fifth month in a row that the unemployment rate increased, it also marked the fourth month in a row that employment rose in Kentucky. During the first five months of 2005, Kentucky has recorded a total nonfarm employment gain of 14,400, about 1,000 more than for the entire year of 2004,” said Carlos Cracraft, the department's chief labor market analyst.

"We’re continuing to see that as the job market improves more people are entering the labor force looking for work and this is pushing the unemployment rate up.

“Kentucky’s jobless rate of 5.7 percent ranked as the 11th highest among all states in May with one other state having the same unemployment rate as Kentucky’s,” he said.

“Kentucky was one of 13 states that had a higher unemployment rate in May 2005 than in April 2005.”

Seven of the 10 major nonfarm job North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors had employment increases in May, while two decreased and one stayed the same, Cracraft said. A monthly survey of business establishments revealed that Kentucky’s nonfarm employment jumped by 2,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis to 1,817,100 in May. Since May 2004, nonfarm employment has gone up 23,500.

According to the seasonally adjusted employment data, Kentucky’s trade, transportation and utilities sector recorded the largest employment increase with 1,300 more workers in May. This sector includes retail and wholesale trade, transportation and utilities businesses, and warehousing, and is the largest sector in Kentucky with 374,700 employees. Since May 2004, the number of jobs in this sector has increased by 2,400.  

“The majority of the over-the-year gain in the trade, transportation and utilities sector was in transportation and warehousing,” said Cracraft. “Change in trucking activity is often a good indicator of what is happening in the economy because employment fluctuations reflect changes in the intensity of the demand for goods.”

The financial activities sector added 800 jobs in May 2005. This sector, which includes establishments involved in finance, insurance, real estate and property leasing or rental, has decreased by 1,900 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, increased by 500 jobs from April 2005 to May 2005. Over the past 12 months, the sector has added 1,700 positions.

The state’s manufacturing sector rose by 200 jobs in May. Compared to May 2004, the sector had 1,700 more employees in May 2005.

“The manufacturing sector has added employment in four of the past five months. Compared to last May, we continue to see particularly strong growth in wood products manufacturing and motor vehicle parts manufacturing,” Cracraft said. “However, long-term job loss continues in the apparel manufacturing sector.”

The educational and health services sector reported 200 more jobs in May 2005 than in April 2005. Since May 2004, the sector has added 3,100 jobs. “Over half of this sector’s over-the-year growth has been in the health care industries,” Cracraft said.

The state’s construction sector had 100 more jobs in May 2005 than in April 2005. Since May 2004, employment in this sector has risen by 3,900. “May marked the eighth consecutive month that the construction sector has added employment with many being hired in the specialty trade contractors category. Since the construction sector’s most recent low point in February 2003, this sector has added 6,300 jobs,” said Cracraft.

Kentucky’s information sector employment went up by 100 jobs from April 2005 to May 2005. This sector, which includes firms involved in publishing, Internet activities and broadcasting and news syndication, had 600 fewer jobs since May 2004.

The state’s professional and business services sector employment reported the same employment level in May 2005 as April 2005. This sector recorded 6,800 more employees in May 2005 than May 2004.

On the negative side, the state’s leisure and hospitality sector fell by 800 jobs in May 2005. Since May 2004, the sector’s employment has gone up by 5,600 employees. The sector includes arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodations and food services and drinking places industries.

“Previously, the leisure and hospitality sector had added employment in each month from December 2004 through April 2005 so this dip is a little unusual. Since May 2004, about 90 percent of the 5,600-job gain has been in the food services and drinking places industries,” Cracraft said.

The government sector, which includes public education, had 500 fewer jobs in May 2005 than in April 2005. Since May 2004, this sector has added 100 jobs. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s monthly estimate of the number of employed Kentuckians for May 2005 was 1,877,735 on a seasonally adjusted basis. This figure is down 4,964 from the 1,882,699 employed in April 2005, but up 8,797 from the 1,868,938 employed in May 2004.

The monthly estimate of the number of unemployed Kentuckians for May 2005 was 113,888. This figure is up 2,869 from the 111,019 unemployed in April 2005, and up 5,265 from the 108,623 Kentuckians unemployed in May 2004.

The monthly estimate of the number of Kentuckians in the civilian labor force for May 2005 was 1,991,623. This figure is down 2,095 from the 1,993,718 recorded in April 2005, but up 14,062 from the 1,977,561 recorded for May 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.

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