4:35pm

Wed April 18, 2012
Business and the Economy

Kentucky’s Jobless Rate Drops to 8.6 Percent

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent in March 2012 from a revised 8.7 percent in February 2012, making this the third consecutive month with an unemployment rate below 9 percent, according to the Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The preliminary March 2012 jobless rate was 1.1 percentage points below the 9.7 percent rate recorded for the state in March 2011, according to a state press release.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell to 8.2 percent in March 2012 from 8.3 percent in February 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working.

In March 2012, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,065,493, a decrease of 633 individuals compared to the previous month.

“All signs are pointing to the likelihood that the recovery is here to stay,” economist Manoj Shanker of the OET said. “With eight months of declining unemployment rate and steady growth in employment, job prospects in Kentucky are definitely improving.”

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 3,200 jobs in March 2012 from the month before, and by 34,200 positions since March 2011.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector gained 1,900 jobs in March 2012. This is the largest sector in Kentucky with 369,000 positions, and posted the highest month-to-month gain among the 11 sectors. Since March 2011, jobs in this sector have increased by 4,300.

Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector gained 1,800 jobs in March 2012 from a month ago. Since March 2011, the sector has grown by 7,600 positions. Jobs have grown steadily over the last six months in this sector and include arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services.

“Most of the new jobs created in March were in retail trade and food services,” Shanker said in the press release. “As employment picks up across the economy, and there is an uptick in consumer confidence, people are more willing to spend money in both shops and restaurants resulting in added hiring.”