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Kentucky unemployment rate drops 1.7 percent in November; jobless rate now at 5.6 percent


Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary November 2020 unemployment rate was 5.6 percent, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC).

The preliminary November 2020 jobless rate was down 1.7 percentage points from October 2020 and up 1.3 percentage points from the 4.3 percent recorded for the state one year ago.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for November 2020 was 6.7 percent, down from 6.9 percent in October 2020, 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 1,998,601 in November 2020, an increase of 36,929 individuals from October 2020. The number of people employed in November increased by 67,391, while the number unemployed decreased by 30,462.

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 1,000 jobs in November 2020 compared to October 2020. Kentucky’s employment was down 100,600 jobs or 5.2 percent compared to November 2019.

“Kentucky’s unemployment rate improved as more workers reported having a job in November than in October,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “However, non-farm employment showed mixed results across sectors. Employment gains in sectors such as manufacturing, and transportation, warehousing and utilities were offset by new losses in retail, and accommodations and food services. While, on net, employment continued to improve, November’s employment showed that several sectors still face significant challenges.”

Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to the survey, employment increased for six of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors in November 2020 while five declined.

Kentucky’s manufacturers jumped 2,500 jobs from October 2020 to November 2020 or 1 percent. Employment in durable goods manufacturing accounted for most of the gains, expanding by 2,300 positions, while employment in non-durable goods manufacturing increased by 200 positions. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment was down 9,800 jobs, or 3.9 percent, since November 2019.

“Faced with low inventories and increases in new orders, manufacturers continued to rebuild their workforce in November,” said Clark.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector increased by 1,500 jobs in November 2020 or 0.4 percent. Transportation, warehousing and utilities subsector posted an additional 2,200 jobs. These gains were completely offset by a loss of 2,200 jobs in the retail trade subsector. The wholesale trade subsector gained 1,500 positions from October to November.

Since November 2019, employment in this sector was down 12,400 positions or 3.1 percent.
The government sector added 1,000 jobs from October 2020 to November 2020.

Local governments expanded their payrolls by 1,600 positions; federal government trimmed payrolls by 600 jobs; and state government kept payrolls the same. Total government employment was down 20,800 positions or 6.7 percent since November 2019.

The professional and business services sector gained 1,000 jobs or 0.5 percent in November 2020. The administrative and support and waste management subsector added 900 positions. The management of companies subsector added 200 jobs. Employment in the professional, scientific and technical services subsector was down 100 jobs. Employment in this sector fell 24,000 or 11 percent since November 2019.

Employment in the other services sector was up by 700 jobs in November. This sector was down 100 positions since November 2019. The other services sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

The financial activities sector added 300 positions in November 2020. The finance and insurance subsector reported 200 more jobs while the real estate, rental and leasing subsector added 100 jobs from October 2020 to November 2020. The sector lost 4,300 jobs compared to last November.

Kentucky’s mining and logging sector fell by 100 jobs from October 2020 to November 2020 and was down 2,000 jobs or 21.3 percent from a year ago.

Employment in the information services sector dropped by 300 jobs in November 2020. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications. This sector was down 3,500 jobs or 16.5 percent from a year ago.

Employment in Kentucky’s educational and health services sector fell by 700 jobs in November 2020. Employment in the educational services subsector gained 400 positions. Employment in the health care and social assistance subsector fell by 1,100 jobs from October to November. Since last November, the sector was down 12,800 positions or 4.5 percent.

Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector declined by 1,700 positions from October 2020 to November 2020 for a decrease of 0.9 percent. This sector has lost 12,700 jobs or 6.3 percent compared to November 2019. The accommodations and food services subsector cut 4,100 positions from payrolls from October to November while the arts, entertainment and recreation subsector added 2,400 positions.

“Accommodations and food services gave back some of the jobs it recovered since April,” said Clark. “Restaurants, in particular, are likely facing further reductions in capacity as colder weather sets in, leading to new cuts in payrolls.”

Employment in Kentucky’s construction sector fell by 3,200 jobs in November 2020, a 3.8 percent decrease from October. The construction sector was up 1,800 jobs or 2.2 percent from one year ago.

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 kystats.ky.gov/KYLMI.

From Education and Workforce Development Cabinet


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