Kentucky still down 90,000 jobs in pandemic

17 December 2020 - Chris Otts (WDRB)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky has regained about two-thirds of the jobs the state lost in the pandemic, but the Bluegrass State still has about 90,000 fewer jobs than in March, according to seasonally adjusted government data released Thursday.

Kentucky’s jobs picture isn’t much different than that of the nation as a whole, which has lost 8.4 million jobs since March.

The number of jobs in Kentucky has declined 4.5% since March, compared to 5.6% in the nation as whole, according to WDRB’s analysis of government data.

Indiana’s November employment report wasn’t yet available, but as of October, the state’s total employment was down about 91,000 since March, or about 3%.

Data released Thursday by the Kentucky Center for Statistics show “accommodation and food services” has been among Kentucky’s hardest hit subsectors. The group, which includes bars, restaurants and hotels, had 17,500 fewer jobs than a year earlier as of November.

Mike Clark, director of the University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research, said in a news release from the state education and workforce cabinet that the new report shows “mixed results” in the jobs picture.

“Employment gains in sectors such as manufacturing, and transportation, warehousing and utilities were offset by new losses in retail, and accommodations and food services,” he said. “While, on net, employment continued to improve, November’s employment showed that several sectors still face significant challenges.”

Kentucky’s unemployment rate, which is drawn from a separate survey of households, dropped to 5.6% in November, from 7.3% in October. But it’s still elevated from 4.3% a year earlier.

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.