FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 19, 2022) —Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary April 2022 unemployment rate was 3.9%, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC).
The preliminary April 2022 jobless rate was down 0.1 percentage points from the 4% reported in March 2022 and down 0.8 percentage points from the 4.7% recorded for the state one year ago.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for April 2022 was 3.6%, which was unchanged from March 2022, 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 2,062,821 in April 2022, an increase of 2,625 individuals from March 2022. The number of people employed in April increased by 5,080 to 1,983,027 while the number of unemployed decreased by 2,455 to 79,794.
“In April, Kentucky recorded its lowest unemployment rate since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting state rates in 1976,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “This low unemployment rate was driven by two factors. First, businesses continue to experience strong demand for their goods and services and are hiring additional workers to help meet this demand. Second, while workers have steadily returned to the labor force as wages rise and health concerns ease, the number of people in the labor force in April was still below the state’s pre-pandemic peak. The strong demand for workers and still somewhat reduced availability of workers created a tight labor market with low unemployment.”
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 2,700 jobs in April 2022 compared to March 2022. Kentucky’s nonfarm employment was up 59,000 jobs or 3.1% compared to April 2021.
“Kentucky’s employers continued to expand their payrolls last month,” said Clark. “As of April, Kentucky had recouped nearly 95% of the 296,000 jobs lost during the initial months of the pandemic.”
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 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors in April 2022 while five declined and one was unchanged.
Employment in Kentucky’s manufacturing sector bounced back after falling in March. Manufacturers expanded their payrolls by 6,000 jobs in April. This represents a gain of 2.5%. The job gains occurred among durable goods manufacturers, which reported 6,800 additional jobs in April over March. Employment in non-durable goods fell by 800 jobs from March to April. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment was up 2,100 positions or 0.9% since April 2021.
“Manufacturing employment continues to fluctuate monthly,” said Clark. “The swings in employment likely reflect continuing volatility in supply chains.”
Employment in the professional and business services sector increased by 900 jobs or 0.4% in April 2022. Employment increased by 200 jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services subsector. The administrative and support and waste management subsector gained 800 jobs. The management of companies subsector lost 100 jobs. Employment in this sector was up 10,400 or 4.8% since April 2021.
Employment in the financial activities sector rose by 700 positions in April 2022. Employment in the finance and insurance subsector was up 600 jobs from March to April, while real estate, rental and leasing subsector was up 100 jobs. The financial activities sector was up 1,400 jobs compared to last April.
Kentucky’s educational and health services sector added 300 jobs in April 2022. All of the job gains occurred in the health care and social assistance subsector, which was up by 300 positions from March to April. Employment in the educational services subsector did not change from March to April. Since last April, this sector has increased by 3,800 jobs or 1.3%.
In the government sector, employment was up by 100 jobs from March 2022 to April 2022. Federal government rose by 100 jobs and local government employment was up 400 jobs. State government fell by 400 jobs. The total government sector added 6,500 positions or 2.2% compared to April 2021.
Employment in the information services sector was unchanged from March to April. 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 up by 900 or 4.4% from one year ago.
Kentucky’s mining and logging sector fell by 200 jobs from March 2022 to April 2022. Employment in this sector for April 2022 was down 200 positions from one year ago.
Employment in the other services sector decreased by 500 jobs in April 2022. This sector was down 400 positions since April 2021. The other services sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services, and religious organizations.
Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector reduced by 1,300 positions from March 2022 to April 2022, a loss of 0.7%. This sector was up 19,800 jobs or 11.2% compared to April 2021. The arts, entertainment and recreation subsector decreased by 700 positions, and the accommodations and food services subsector fell by 600 jobs in April.
Construction employment dropped by 1,600 jobs in April 2022, or 2.1% from March. The construction sector was down 2,200 positions or 2.8% from one year ago.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 1,700 positions from March 2022 to April 2022. Retail trade employment was down by 2,100 jobs in April. Wholesale trade employment did not change from March to April. Transportation, warehousing and utilities added 400 jobs. Since April 2021, employment in this sector has increased by 16,900 jobs or 4.1%.
“While declines in a sector’s employment are often associated with reduced demand, the decline in retail employment might reflect the difficulties retail employers have experienced retaining and attracting workers given the tight labor market,” said Clark.
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.