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State Seal Department for Workforce Investment
Kentucky's unemployment rate remains at 5.4 percent in May
Press Release Date:  June 21, 2004
Contact:  Kim Saylor Brannock
(502) 564-6606

          Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 5.4 percent from April 2004 to May 2004, according to the Department for Employment Services, an agency of the Education Cabinet. The state’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate for May 2003 was 6.2 percent.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate also remained steady at 5.6 percent for both April and May 2004, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

“While the state jobless rate did not show any movement from April to May of this year, it is significantly better than May 2003,” said Carlos Cracraft, the department's chief labor market analyst. “Compared to other states, Kentucky was one of 36 states that reported unemployment rates below the U.S. average of 5.6 percent in May 2004.”

Six of the 10 major nonfarm job North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors had employment increases in May, while four decreased, Cracraft said. A monthly survey of business establishments revealed that Kentucky’s nonfarm employment rose by 900 on a seasonally adjusted basis to May’s 1,789,000 employees.

According to the seasonally adjusted employment data, construction sector reported 900 more jobs in May 2004 than in April 2004. Since May 2003, the sector has grown by 3,900 employees. “Kentucky’s construction sector has added employment in eight of the past nine months,” said Cracraft.

Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector had 600 more jobs in May 2004 than in April 2004. Since May 2003, the sector employment has had an upswing of 6,000 additional employees.

The other services sector, which includes such establishments as repair and maintenance places, personal and laundry services, religious organizations, and civic and professional organizations, also rose by 600 jobs in May. Over the past 12 months, the sector has added 2,300 employees.

The manufacturing sector grew by 300 more employees in May 2004 than in April 2004. Compared to May 2003, the sector had 1,200 fewer employees in May 2004. “This May increase raised the employment level in the manufacturing sector to some 264,400 employees and was the first employment gain for this sector since January 2004,” said Cracraft.

The information sector increased employment from April to May 2004. This sector, which includes firms involved in publishing, Internet activities and broadcasting and news syndication, had 200 more jobs in May 2004 than in April 2004. Employment has was at the same level of 30,300 employees in May 2003 and May 2004.

Kentucky’s educational and health services sector also reported 200 more jobs in May 2004 than in April 2004. Since May 2003, the sector has jumped by 2,200 jobs. “Approximately three-fourths of that over-the-year jobs gain in this sector was in educational services, while the remainder was in the health care and social assistance,” Cracraft said.

On the other side of the ledger, the professional and business services sector employment decreased by 1,000 employees in May 2004. This sector recorded 1,100 fewer employees in May 2004 than in May 2003.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector decreased by 500 jobs in May 2004. This sector includes retail and wholesale trade, transportation and utilities businesses, and warehousing, and is the largest sector in Kentucky with 371,500 employees. Since May 2003, the number of jobs in this sector has risen by 600 employees.

Kentucky’s financial activities sector lost 400 jobs in May. This sector, which includes establishments involved in finance, insurance, real estate and property leasing or rental, has climbed by 1,100 jobs over the past 12 months.

The government sector, which includes public education, decreased by 200 jobs in May. Since May 2003, this sector has decreased by 6,000 jobs.

            The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s monthly estimate of the number of employed Kentuckians for May 2004 was 1,880,216 on a seasonally adjusted basis. This figure is down 1,301 from the 1,881,517 employed in April 2004, but up 47,548 from the 1,832,668 employed in May 2003.

            The monthly estimate of the number of unemployed Kentuckians for May 2004 was 107,073. This figure is up 689 from the 106,384 unemployed in April 2004, but down 14,135 from the 121,208 Kentuckians unemployed in May 2003.

            The monthly estimate of the number of Kentuckians in the civilian labor force for May 2004 was 1,987,289. This figure is down 612 from the 1,987,901 recorded in April 2004, but up 33,413 from the 1,953,876 recorded for May 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 Department for Employment Services at


Last updated: Monday, June 21, 2004