State unemployment remains at 4.3% in January 2020 report

FRANKFORT, Ky. (The Lane Report) — Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary January 2020 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 January 2020 jobless rate was unchanged from December 2019 and up 0.1% from the 4.2% recorded for the state in January 2019. The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for January 2020 was 3.6%, up from 3.5% in December 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 2,084,842 in January 2020, an increase of 2,635 individuals from December 2019. The number of people employed in January rose by 2,774, while the number unemployed decreased by 139.

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 12,100 jobs in January 2020 compared to December 2019. Kentucky has added 6,000 jobs since January 2019, for a growth rate of 0.3%.

“After faltering in November and December, Kentucky’s employment numbers appeared to recover in January,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Interim Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “However, half of the January employment gains came from the retail trade subsector and the administrative and support and waste management subsector, which have been fairly volatile over the past few months.”

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

The professional and business services sector jumped by 4,100 jobs, or 1.9%, in January 2020. This sector was up 4,600 jobs since January 2019. The administration and support and waste management subsector accounted for most of this growth with a gain of 4,300 positions from December to January. The professional, scientific and technical services subsector was up 200 jobs in January and the management of companies subsector was down 400 positions.

Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector grew by 3,300 positions from December 2019 to January 2020. This sector is up 7,200 positions since January 2019. The accommodations and food services subsector added 1,700 jobs. Employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation subsector gained 1,600 jobs.

Kentucky’s trade, transportation and utilities sector added 2,700 jobs in January 2020. Wholesale trade increased by 1,100 jobs; retail trade increased by 1,800 jobs; and transportation, warehousing, and utilities decreased by 200 jobs. Since January 2019, employment in this sector has decreased by 7,100 positions or 1.7 percent.

Employment increased by 1,700 jobs in the other services sector from December 2019 to January 2020. This sector was up by 1,200 positions since January 2019. The other services sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

Employment in Kentucky’s educational and health services sector increased by 1,400 jobs in January 2020. The health care and social assistance subsector accounted for most of these additional jobs, adding 1,200 positions from December to January. The educational services subsector was up 200 jobs in January 2020. Since last January, the sector has grown by 6,800 positions, or 2.4%.

Kentucky’s manufacturing employers added 900 positions from December 2019 to January 2020, an increase of 0.4%. Durable goods manufacturing increased by 400 jobs, while non-durable manufacturers added 500 jobs in January. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment decreased by 1,200 jobs since January 2019.

Total employment in the government sector did not change from December 2019 to January 2020. Federal government employment increased by 300 jobs; state government employment decreased by 400 jobs; and local government employment increased by 100 jobs. Total government employment has declined by 300 jobs since January 2019.

Kentucky’s mining and logging sector fell by 100 jobs from December 2019 to January 2020, and was down 1,800 jobs, or 16.7%, from a year ago.

Construction employment fell by 200 jobs in January 2020. The construction sector was down 1,100 jobs, or 1.4%, during the past year.

Employment in the information services sector fell by 300 jobs in January 2020. This sector was down 900 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 1,400 jobs in January 2020. These losses occurred entirely in the finance and insurance subsector. Employment in the real estate, rental and leasing subsector did not change from December to January. The sector was down 1,400 jobs compared to last January.

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.