Kentucky's July Unemployment Numbers Up Slightly

16 August 2019 - Tom Kenny (WTVQ)

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary July 2019 unemployment rate was 4.3 percent, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The unemployment rate for July 2019 was up from the 4.1 percent reported for June 2019.

The preliminary July 2019 jobless rate was down 0.1 percentage points from the 4.4 percent recorded for the state in July 2018.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for July 2019 was 3.7 percent, unchanged from June 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 2,068,217 in July 2019, a increase of 1,040 individuals from June 2019. The number of people employed in July was down by 2,098, while the number unemployed increased by 3,138.

In a separate federal survey of business establishments that excludes jobs in agriculture and people who are self-employed, Kentuckys seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 4,300 jobs in July 2019 compared to June 2019. Kentucky has added 28,100 jobs since July 2018, for a growth rate of 1.5 percent.

Despite uncertainty over trade issues, Kentuckys employment continued to show strong growth in July, said University of Kentuckys Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Interim Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. In 2018, Kentucky employers added 16,100 jobs. They exceeded this number during the first seven months of 2019, adding 19,800 jobs. However, the household survey indicates that fewer people worked in July, contributing to a higher unemployment rate.

Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics program. According to this survey, four of Kentuckys 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors saw employment increases from the previous month while five declined and two were unchanged.

Kentuckys manufacturing sector jumped by 3,900 jobs or 1.5 percent from June 2019 to July 2019. The increase occurred mostly in durable goods manufacturing, which added 3,400 jobs. Non-durable goods manufacturing added 500 from June 2019 to July 2019. Kentuckys manufacturing employment has expanded by 9,700 jobs since July 2018.

Although nationally there is increased concern that manufacturing growth is slowing, Kentuckys manufacturing employment has shown solid growth over the past few months, said Clark. In July 2019, Kentuckys manufacturers posted the strongest one-month increase in employment since August 2015.

The professional and business services sector added 2,900 jobs or 1.3 percent in July 2019. This sector was up 3,500 jobs since July 2018. The administration and support and waste management subsector increased by 2,400 jobs in July, while the professional, scientific and technical services subsector rose by 500 jobs.

Kentuckys trade, transportation and utilities sector gained 600 jobs in July 2019. Within this sector, wholesale trade added 300 jobs, while retail trade lost 200 jobs. The transportation, warehousing and utilities subsector gained 500 jobs over the month. Since July 2018, employment was up by 1,000 positions or 0.2 percent.

Employment increased by 100 jobs in the other services sector from June 2019 to July 2019. This sector is up by 700 positions since July 2018. The other services sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

Construction employment was unchanged in July 2019. The construction sector was up 1,900 jobs or 2.4 percent during the past year.

The financial activities sector was also unchanged in July 2019. The sector was increased by 500 jobs compared to last July. The real estate, rental and leasing subsector lost 500 jobs from June 2019 to July 2019. This loss was offset by a gain of 500 jobs in the finance and insurance subsector.

Employment in the information services sector declined by 100 jobs in July 2019. This sector was unchanged since July 2018. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

Kentuckys mining and logging sector decreased by 300 jobs from June 2019 to July 2019, and was also down 300 jobs from a year ago.

Employment in Kentuckys educational and health services sector fell by 500 jobs in July 2019. The educational services subsector added 200 jobs, while health care and social assistance subsector lost 700 jobs. Since last July, the sector has expanded 9,900 positions or 3.6 percent.

The government sector decreased by 1,100 jobs in July 2019 compared to June 2019. Federal government employment declined by 100; state government fell by 600 jobs; and local government declined by 400 jobs. Total government employment has fallen by 700 jobs since July 2018.

Kentuckys leisure and hospitality sector declined by 1,200 positions from June 2019 to July 2019. Within this sector, employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation fell by 900 jobs, and accommodations and food services decreased by 300 jobs. This sector is up 1,900 positions since July 2018.

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.

Kentuckys 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