April unemployment numbers remain best on record

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By TOM LATEK, Kentucky Today

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky maintained its record-low jobless rate in April, and saw a net increase in jobs, according to figures released Thursday by the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

 

The unemployment rate for April 2018 was unchanged from the 4 percent reported for March 2018.  That was down 1.2 percentage points from the 5.2 percent recorded for the state in April of last year, and remains the lowest ever recorded since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began providing the data in 1976.

In addition, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,053,872 in April, a net increase of 3,678 compared to March. The number of people employed was up by 3,733, while the number unemployed decreased by 55.

“Kentucky’s unemployment rate remained at its lowest level in April despite a slight decline in payroll employment,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Dr. Chris Bollinger.

Breaking down job growth by category, Kentucky’s trade, transportation and utilities employment added 1,100 jobs last month, up 10,300 positions or 2.6 percent from April 2017 to April 2018. From March 2018 to April 2018, wholesale trade increased by 1,100 positions; retail trade fell by 600 positions; and transportation, warehousing and utilities increased by 600 positions.

Construction employment grew by 1.4 percent. Over the past 12 months, construction employment was up by 800 jobs or 1 percent.

“Kentucky’s construction sector has shown strong growth during the past two months, adding 1,000 jobs in March and 1,100 jobs in April,” said Bollinger.

The professional and business services sector gained 700 jobs in April 2018 and has added 2,000 jobs since April 2017.

The leisure and hospitality sector increased by 600 jobs from March 2018 to April 2018, a 0.3 percent gain. Since April 2017, this sector has lost 800 positions or 0.4 percent.

Employment in the information services sector rose by 200 jobs in April 2018. This sector has declined by 500 jobs or 2.2 percent since April 2017. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

The government sector grew by 100 jobs in April 2018. Within this sector, federal employment increased by 300 jobs; state employment decreased by 300 positions; and local government employment rose by 100 jobs. Since April 2017, government employment was down by 200 jobs or 0.1 percent.

Kentucky’s mining and logging sector added 100 jobs from March to April. Employment in this sector has decreased by 100 jobs since April 2017.

The financial activities sector was unchanged from March 2018 to April 2018 but has 400 fewer jobs than last April.

The category that fared the worst was manufacturing, which lost 3,500 jobs last month. Durable goods manufacturing dropped by 1,400 jobs while nondurable goods manufacturing fell by 2,100 positions. Since April 2017, Kentucky’s manufacturing sector has lost 3,500 jobs.

“Manufacturing employment declined by 1.4 percent in April,” said Bollinger. “While this is a large decrease, similar decreases in the past have often been followed by large increases the next month and do not necessarily signal a trend.”

The education and health services sector dropped by 100 jobs in April 2018. Within this sector, employment in educational services gained 600 positions, and health care and social assistance declined by 700 jobs. Employment in this sector has fallen by 1,300 jobs since a year ago.

Employment in the other services sector decreased by 400 positions in April 2018, but added 1,400 from a year ago. This represents a growth rate of 2.1 percent from April 2017 to April 2018. Other services include repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

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.

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