FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 20, 2019) — Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary May 2019 unemployment rate was 4 percent, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The unemployment rate for May 2019 was unchanged from April 2019.
The preliminary May 2019 jobless rate was down 0.4 percentage points from the 4.4 percent recorded for the state in May 2018.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for May 2019 was 3.6 percent, unchanged from its April 2019 level, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based on estimates from the Current Population Survey of households. The survey is designed to measure trends in the number of people working. It includes jobs in agriculture and individuals who are self-employed.
Kentucky civilian labor force increased by 1,654 individuals in May 2019, bringing the state’s labor force to 2,066,916. The number of people employed in May was up by 1,474, while the number unemployed increased by 180.
In a separate federal survey of business establishments that excludes jobs in agriculture and people who are self-employed, Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 100 jobs in May 2019 compared to April 2019. Kentucky has added 18,900 jobs since May 2018, for a growth rate of 1 percent.
“Kentucky’s unemployment rate remained low in May, as most new workers entering the labor force appear to be finding jobs,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Associate Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “However, nonfarm employment growth slowed in May, largely due to reduced employment in the professional and business services sector and the financial activities sector.”
Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to this survey, four of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors saw employment increases from the previous month while six declined and one was unchanged.
Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector added 1,800 positions from April 2019 to May 2019, an increase of 0.9 percent. All of this growth occurred within the accommodations and food services subsector, which added 1,800 jobs. Employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation subsector was unchanged in May 2019. This sector is up 3,800 positions since May 2018.
“Accommodation and food services has shown strong growth so far this year,” said Clark. “Employment in this subsector is up 4,200 jobs so far this year.”
Construction employment increased by 800 jobs in May or 1 percent. The construction sector was up 2,500 jobs during the past 12 months for a gain of 3.2 percent.
Employment in Kentucky’s educational and health services sector rose by 200 jobs in May 2019. Growth in the educational services subsector accounted for all of this growth. Employment in the health care and social assistance subsector was unchanged. Since last May, the sector has added 7,900 positions or 2.9 percent.
The information services sector was up 100 jobs in May 2019. Employment in this sector has decreased by 200 jobs since May 2018. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.
Employment in Kentucky’s professional and business services sector fell by 1,100 jobs in May 2019 or 0.5 percent. This sector was down 1,300 jobs since May 2018. Among the subsectors, professional, scientific and technical services decreased the most since April 2019 with 700 fewer jobs.
The financial activities sector reported 600 fewer jobs in May 2019. The sector is up 100 jobs compared to last May. The real estate, rental and leasing subsector declined by 400 jobs, while the finance and insurance subsector dropped by 200 jobs.
Kentucky’s manufacturing sector decreased by 300 jobs or 0.1 percent from April 2019 to May 2019. Durable goods manufacturing added 100 jobs and non-durable manufacturing decreased by 400 jobs. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment is up by 3,800 jobs since May 2018.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 300 jobs in May 2019. Since May 2018, employment in this sector has expanded by 2,300 positions or 0.6 percent. Employment decreased by 200 jobs in wholesale trade, increased by 100 jobs in retail trade, and decreased by 200 jobs in transportation, warehousing and utilities.
The government sector declined by 300 jobs in May 2019 compared to April 2019. The local government employment fell by 200 jobs, federal government decreased by 100 jobs, and state government employment was unchanged. Total government employment has decreased by 1,600 jobs since May 2018.
Employment decreased by 200 jobs in the other services sector from April 2019 to May 2019. The other services sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations. Employment in this sector is up by 1,400 positions since May 2018.
Kentucky’s mining and logging sector was unchanged in May and was up by 200 positions from a year ago for a gain of 2 percent.
Civilian labor force statistics include nonmilitary 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 Kentucky labor market information at https://kystats.ky.gov/KYLMI
Contact: Kim Saylor Brannock
NOTE: 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.