Kentucky’s unemployment rate remains steady at 4.4% in September

17 October 2019

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary September 2019 unemployment rate was 4.4% according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC). The unemployment rate for September 2019 was unchanged from the 4.4% reported for August 2019.

The preliminary September 2019 jobless rate was up 0.1% from the 4.3% recorded for the state in September 2018.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for September 2019 was 3.5%, down 0.2% from August 2019, 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 was 2,073,147 in September 2019, an increase of 1,809 individuals from August 2019. The number of people employed in September increased by 1,952, while the number unemployed decreased by 143.

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 8,200 jobs in September 2019 compared to August 2019. Kentucky has added 26,200 jobs since September 2018, for a growth rate of 1.4%.

“Growth in Kentucky’s manufacturing, health services, and wholesale trade sectors helped push Kentucky employment up an additional 8,200 jobs in September,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Interim Director Mike Clark, Ph.D.

Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to to thesurvey, seven of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors saw employment increases from the previous month while three declined and one was unchanged.

Kentucky’s manufacturing sector jumped by 3,000 jobs or 1.2% from August 2019 to September 2019. Durable goods manufacturers added 1,600 jobs and non-durable manufacturers added 1,400 jobs in August. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment has expanded by 6,400 jobs since September 2018.

“Manufacturing employment recovered in September,” said Clark. “Durable goods manufacturing regained more than half of the employment losses from the previous two months and non-durable manufacturing posted its largest employment gain of the year.”

Employment in Kentucky’s educational and health services sector grew by 2,200 jobs in September 2019. The educational services subsector gained 200 jobs, while health care and social assistance subsector added 2,000 jobs. Since last September, the sector has expanded by 11,200 positions or 4.0%.

Kentucky’s trade, transportation and utilities sector gained 1,500 jobs in September 2019. Wholesale trade contributed 1,400 additional jobs, retail trade added 400 jobs, and transportation, warehousing, and utilities lost 300 jobs. Since September 2018, employment in this sector was up by 6,800 positions or 1.7%.

The financial activies sector increased by 1,300 jobs in September 2019. The finance and insurance subsector added 700 jobs and the real estate, rental and leasing subsector added 600 jobs in September. The sector was up 2,300 jobs compared to last September.

The government sector increased by 900 jobs in September 2019 compared to August 2019. Federal government employment decreased by 400 jobs; state government increased by 200 jobs; and local government added 1,100 jobs. Total government employment has fallen by 2,100 jobs since September 2018.

The professional and business services sector employment added 300 jobs or 0.1% in September 2019. This sector was down 1,600 jobs since September 2018. Employment in the professional, scientific and technical services subsector was unchanged in September. The management of companies subsector was up 200 positions and the administration and support and waste management subsector added 100 jobs.

Employment increased by 200 jobs in the other services sector from August 2019 to September 2019. This sector was up by 1,400 positions since September 2018. The other services sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

Employment in the information services sector was unchanged in September 2019. This sector was down 200 positions since September 2018. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

Kentucky’s mining and logging sector decreased by 100 jobs from August 2019 to September 2019, and was down 400 jobs from a year ago.

Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector fell by 400 positions from August 2019 to September 2019. This sector is up 2,100 positions since September 2018. Within this sector, employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation added 300 jobs, while accommodations and food services fell by 700 jobs.

Construction employment fell by 700 jobs in September 2019. The construction sector was up 300 jobs or 0.4% during the past year.

“Although seasonally adjusted construction employment increased from December through February, most of those gains were lost over the past four months,” said Clark. “This decrease suggests slowing demand for construction services.”

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