Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Releases October 2021 Unemployment Report

EDITOR'S NOTE: Links to the employment chart, the unemployment rate chart and COVID-19 statement are below.



FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 18, 2021) — Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary October 2021 unemployment rate was 4.2%, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC).


The preliminary October 2021 jobless rate was down 0.1 percentage points from the 4.3% reported in September 2021 and down 1.3 percentage points from the 5.5% recorded for the state one year ago.


The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for October 2021 was 4.6%, down from the 4.8% reported in September 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.


Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based upon estimates from the Current Population Survey of households. The survey is designed to measure trends in the number of people working, and includes jobs in agriculture and individuals who are self-employed.


Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 1,991,931 in October 2021, an increase of 4,800 individuals from September 2021. The number of people employed in October increased by 4,937 to 1,907,351 while the number unemployed decreased by 137 to 84,580.


“While Kentucky’s labor force contracted from March through June, it has shown signs of growth over the past four months,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “Kentucky’s labor force grew during each of the last four months, adding 11,885 workers. While these are not necessarily large increases and there is still a lot of volatility in the labor market, these increases may suggest workers are starting to slowly return to the labor force.”


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 rose by 3,100 jobs in October 2021 compared to September 2021. Kentucky’s nonfarm employment was up 28,3000 jobs or 1.5% compared to October 2020.


“Kentucky extended its jobs recovery in October,” said Clark. “Kentucky posted strong growth in its trade, transportation and utilities sectors. However, these gains were offset by losses in arts, entertainment, and recreation businesses and other sectors.”


Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to the survey, employment increased for five of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors in October 2021 while six declined.


The trade, transportation and utilities sector jumped by 2,500 positions from September 2021 to October 2021. Retail trade employment was up 1,200 jobs in October; wholesale trade was up 200 positions; and transportation, warehousing and utilities was up 1,100 jobs. Since October 2020, employment in this sector has increased by 13,700 jobs or 3.4%.


Kentucky’s educational and health services sector gained 1,700 jobs in October 2021. The educational services subsector lost 300 positions from September to October while the health care and social assistance subsector added 2,000 positions. Since last October, this sector has increased by 5,800 jobs or 2.1%.


Employment at Kentucky’s manufacturers rose by 1,200 jobs or 0.5% from September 2021 to October 2021. All of the additional jobs were from the durable goods subsector which was up 1,200, or 0.7%, over September. Employment in non-durable goods did not change from September to October. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment was up 12,300 positions or 5.1% since October 2020.


The government sector added 500 jobs from September 2021 to October 2021. This represents an increase of 0.2% over September 2021. Employment increased by 200 jobs in federal government; 300 jobs in state government; and was unchanged local government. Total government employment was up 600 positions or 0.2% compared to October 2020.


Employment in the financial activities sector increased by 100 positions in October 2021. The finance and insurance subsector added 100 jobs from September 2021 to October 2021. The real estate, rental and leasing subsector did not change in October. The financial activities sector has grown by 1,900 jobs or 2% from last October.


The number of jobs in Kentucky’s mining and logging sector fell by 100 jobs from September 2021 to October 2021. This sector was down 400 positions or 5.5% from a year ago.


The information services sector lost 100 jobs from September to October. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications. The number of jobs in this sector was down by 500 or 2.4% from one year ago.


Employment in the other services sector fell by 200 jobs in October 2021 and was up 1,600 positions since October 2020. The other services sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.


Construction employment decreased by 300 jobs in October 2021, or 0.4% over September. The construction sector was up 1,900 positions or 2.4% from one year ago.


“Construction employment tends to be volatile from month-to-month, but Kentucky’s construction sector has generally been trending up,” said Clark.


The professional and business services sector declined by 700 jobs or 0.3% in October 2021. Employment increased by 300 jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services subsector and 100 jobs in the management of companies subsector. The administrative and support and waste management subsector lost 1,100. Employment in this sector was down 5,200 or 2.5% since October 2020.


“While professional and business services recovered many of the jobs lost during the pandemic, employment in the sector has been trending down over the last few months,” said Clark.


Employment in Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector fell by 1,500 positions from September 2021 to October 2021, a loss of 0.9%. This sector was down 3,400 jobs or 2% compared to October 2020. The accommodations and food services subsector was unchanged in October. The arts, entertainment and recreation subsector lost 1,500 positions.


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, due to the small sample size, county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.



To learn more about Kentucky labor market information, visit https://kystats.ky.gov/KYLMI.



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