Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate dropped to a three-year low of 9.1 percent in December from 9.4 percent in November, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training.
The preliminary December jobless rate was 1.2 percentage points below the 10.3 percent rate recorded for the state in the same month a year earlier. The state’s December 2011 jobless rate is the lowest since the December 2008, when it was 8.5 percent.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell to 8.5 percent in December from 8.7 percent in November, 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 December 2011, 2,087,230 individuals were counted in Kentucky’s civilian labor force, which fell by about 6,000 job seekers compared to the previous month.
“This is not really a sign of the ‘discouraged-worker syndrome,’” said economist Manoj Shanker of the Office of Employment and Traniing. “In a dynamic economy there are other causes for the decline in the labor force. Workers migrate between states and some go back to school to acquire new skills. Both of those factors can cause the labor force to contract.”
Preliminary estimates show that since November 2011 the state has added 8,400 nonfarm jobs for a employment level of 1,808,700. Overall, the state has created 31,000 nonfarm jobs since December 2010 for a gain of 1.7 percent, said Shanker.
Seven of the 11 major nonfarm job sectors reported an employment increase in December 2011, while four decreased, according to OET.
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.