3:04pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Business and the Economy

State's Unemployment Rate Drops

FRANKFORT — Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent in November from 9.6 percent in October, according to the Office of Employment and Training. The preliminary November jobless rate was .8 percentage point below the 10.2 percent rate recorded for the state in November 2010. The state’s November 2011 rate is the lowest since the January 2009 rate of 9.2 percent.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate dropped to 8.6 percent in November 2011 from 9 percent in October 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working.

Four of the 11 major nonfarm job sectors reported an employment increase in November, while six decreased and one remained the same. The number of jobs increased by 4,500 from October to November bringing Kentucky’s nonfarm employment to a seasonally adjusted total of 1.8-million. Kentucky’s nonfarm employment has grown by 20,600 workers since November 2010.

“The year-to-year data shows a positive growth trend with the unemployment rate dropping nearly 1 percent over the past year. In the last month, a decline in the civilian labor force was the main factor in the decrease in the unemployment rate as people dropped out of the workforce, which is contrary to the trend over the year,” said Ron Crouch, OET director of Research and Statistics.

According to the seasonally adjusted employment data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program, Kentucky’s trade, transportation and utilities sector surged by 6,000 jobs in November 2011. This area includes retail and wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing businesses, and utilities. It is the largest sector in Kentucky with 366,100 employees. Since November 2010, the number of jobs in this sector has increased by 7,100.

“The job gains in the trade, transportation and utilities sector was across the board. All three of the subsectors showed strong growth during the past month, which indicates that consumers are increasing their spending,” Crouch said.

The professional and business services sector increased by 1,900 positions in November. This area includes professional, scientific and technical services; management of companies; and administrative support and waste management, including temporary help agencies. Since last November, jobs in the sector have ballooned by 12,800.

“In the last month, we saw a nearly 15 percent increase in the number professional, scientific and technical services employees, which is a positive trend since those tend to be higher paying jobs,” Crouch said.

The educational and health services sector grew by 1,300 workers in November. The sector has gained 5,100 jobs since November 2010. This sector includes private and nonprofit establishments that provide either education and training or health care and social assistance to their clients.

Construction sector jobs fell by 2,500 in November. Since November 2010, employment in the construction sector has tumbled by 6,100 jobs.

“The downward employment in construction continued in the past month as it has during past year. Since last November, we have seen a nearly 10 percent drop in construction jobs,” Crouch said.

Kentucky’s manufacturing sector dropped by 1,700 jobs in November. Since November 2010, employment in the manufacturing sector has climbed by 4,700 positions.

“The drop in manufacturing jobs occurred in both durable and nondurable goods. However, over the past year we have seen an increase of more than 2 percent in jobs in this sector after a number of years of decline, so that is a positive trend,” Crouch said.