FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 16, 2023) — Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary October 2023 unemployment rate was 4.2%, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet (KELC).
The preliminary October 2023 jobless rate was up 0.1 percentage point from September 2023 and was up 0.2 percentage point from one year ago.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for October 2023 was 3.9%, which was up 0.1 percentage point from September 2023, 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 2,040,567 in October 2023, a decrease of 4,559 individuals from September 2023. The number of people employed in October fell by 5,259 to 1,955,042 while the number unemployed increased by 700 to 85,525.
“Although Kentucky’s unemployment rate remains fairly low, the number of people employed in Kentucky has decreased in each of the past four months,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “While many of these formerly employed workers are searching for a new job, the majority appear to have left the labor market. The number of people exiting the labor force was equal to 63% of the decrease in employment over the past four months.”
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 1,500 jobs to 2,034,400 in October 2023 compared to September 2023. Kentucky’s nonfarm employment was up 52,200 jobs or 2.6% compared to October 2022.
“Kentucky’s payroll employment increased in October but at a slower pace,” said Clark. “This comes after two months of employers reporting large increases in payroll employment.”
Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to the survey, employment increased for four of Kentucky’s major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors in October 2023 and decreased for seven.
Construction employment rose by 2,400 jobs or 2.6% from September to October 2023 and was up 12,300 positions or 14.9% from one year ago.
“Estimates suggests that Kentucky’s construction sector has experienced a significant surge in employment over the past year,” said Clark. “While national construction employment grew by only 2.8% over the past year, Kentucky’s construction employment has grown by 14.9%.”
Kentucky’s professional and business services sector rose by 1,900 jobs or 0.8% in October 2023. Employment increased by 800 positions in the professional, scientific and technical services subsector. The management of companies subsector added 400 jobs, and the administrative, support and waste management subsector rose by 700 from September to October. The sector has increased by 4,300 jobs or 1.8% since October 2022.
The educational and health services sector increased by 800 positions in October 2023. Employment in the health care and social assistance subsector rose by 1,600 jobs in October. These gains were partially offset by a loss of 800 jobs in the educational services subsector. Since last October, this sector has grown by 16,000 jobs or 5.5%.
The number of jobs in the state’s mining and logging sector rose by 100 from September to October. This sector had 300 more jobs compared to October 2022.
Employment in Kentucky’s information services sector fell by 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 this sector was the same in October 2023 as it was in October 2022.
Kentucky’s manufacturing sector declined by 200 jobs from September 2023 to October 2023. Employment was unchanged in durable goods manufacturing, but non-durable goods manufacturing lost 200 jobs. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment was up 7,200 positions or 2.8% since October 2022.
Employment in the other services sector was down by 200 jobs from September to October. This sector had 1,900 more positions in October 2023 compared to October 2022. This sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.
Employment in the government sector fell by 300 from September 2023 to October 2023. Jobs were unchanged in federal government; decreased by 400 in state government; and increased by 100 in local government. The total number of government jobs rose by 6,300 positions or 2.1% compared to October 2022.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 600 jobs from September to October and was up 4,700 jobs or 1.1% compared to a year ago. The jobs losses occurred in the wholesale trade (-600) and retail trade (-1,200) subsectors. Much of these losses were offset by a gain of 1,200 jobs in the transportation, warehousing and utilities subsector.
Kentucky’s financial activities sector fell by 700 jobs in October 2023. Employment was down 700 jobs in the finance and insurance subsector from September to October and was unchanged in the real estate, rental and leasing subsector. The sector decreased by 3,200 positions compared to last October.
The leisure and hospitality sector contracted by 1,600 positions from September 2023 to October 2023, representing a loss of 0.8%. This sector reported 2,400 more jobs in October than one year ago. The accommodations and food services subsector was down by 2,400 jobs in October. Employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation subsector increased by 800 jobs from September to October.
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 http://kystats.ky.gov/KYLMI.