Kentucky seasonally adjusted unemployment rate down to 4.3% in December 2019

23 January 2020 - The Lane Report

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary December 2019 unemployment rate was 4.3%, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC).

The preliminary December 2019 jobless rate was down 0.1% from the 4.4% recorded for the state in November 2019. The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for December 2019 was 3.5%, unchanged from November 2019, 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 civilian labor force was 2,087,383 in December 2019, an increase of 5,020 individuals from November 2019. The number of people employed in December rose by 5,412, while the number unemployed decreased by 392.

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 decreased by 5,400 jobs in December 2019 compared to November 2019. Kentucky has added 13,600 jobs since December 2018, for a growth rate of 0.7%.

“Kentucky’s employers reduced their payrolls in December,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Interim Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “In spite of businesses reporting slower jobs growth, more people indicated that they worked in December. This helped push the state’s unemployment rate down slightly.”

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

Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector grew by 900 positions from November 2019 to December 2019. This sector is up 5,700 positions since December 2018. The accommodations and food services subsector added 600 jobs. Employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation subsector gained 300 jobs.

Employment in Kentucky’s educational and health services sector increased by 200 jobs in December 2019. The health care and social assistance sector added 300 positions from Novemeber to December. The educational services subsector was down 100 jobs in December 2019. Since last December, the sector has expanded by 10,300 positions or 3.6%.

Kentucky’s manufacturing sector increased by 800 jobs or 0.3% from November 2019 to

December 2019. Durable goods manufacturing increased by 700 jobs, while non-durable manufacturers added 100 jobs in December. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment has expanded by 1,900 jobs since December 2018.

“While Kentucky’s manufacturing sector posted job gains in December, employment growth in this sector has slowed and become more volatile in recent months,” said Clark. “This is fairly consistent with manufacturing trends nationally.”

Kentucky’s trade, transportation and utilities sector declined by 3,100 jobs in December 2019. All three subsectors reported fewer jobs in December with wholesale trade down 500 jobs; retail trade down 1,800 jobs; and transportation, warehousing, and utilities down 800 jobs. Since December 2018, employment in this sector has decreased by 1,400 positions or 0.3%.

The professional and business services sector declined by 2,700 jobs or 1.2% in December 2019. This sector is down 600 jobs since December 2018. The administration and support and waste management subsector lost 2,300 positions. The professional, scientific and technical services subsector was down 100 jobs in December and the management of companies subsector was down 300 positions.

The government sector decreased by 400 jobs in December 2019 compared to November 2019. Federal government employment declined by 600 jobs; state government employment decreased by 100 jobs; and local government employment increased by 300 jobs. 

Total government employment has declined by 2,500 jobs since December 2018.

Kentucky’s mining and logging sector fell by 300 jobs from November 2019 to December 2019, and was down 2,200 jobs, or 21.4%, from a year ago.

Employment fell by 300 jobs in the other services sector from November 2019 to December 2019. This sector was up by 1,100 positions since December 2018. The other services sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

Construction employment fell by 200 jobs in December 2019. The construction sector was down 500 jobs or 0.6% during the past year.

Employment in the information services sector fell by 200 jobs in December 2019. This sector was down 300 positions from a year ago. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

The financial activities sector lost 100 jobs in December 2019. The finance and insurance subsector gained 100 jobs while the real estate, rental and leasing subsector lost 200 jobs. The sector was up 2,100 jobs compared to last December.

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