Kentucky unemployment at record-low 3.7%

Published 12:30 pm Friday, May 19, 2023

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Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary April 2023 unemployment rate was a record low 3.7%, according to information released on Thursday by the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet.

That represents a drop of 0.1% from March, as well as the rate that was recorded for the state one year ago of 3.8%.

This compares to the U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for April, which was 3.4%.  Like in Kentucky, that was down 0.1% from March, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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The Cabinet notes that 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’s civilian labor force was 2,046,426 in April 2023, an increase of 4,277 individuals from March 2023. The number of people employed in April rose by 5,086 to 1,970,127 while the number of unemployed decreased by 809 to 76,299.

“April saw strong gains in Kentucky’s labor force,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research Director Mike Clark.  “With employers continuing to expand their payrolls, workers are finding jobs at a faster pace than they are returning to the labor force. This has helped push Kentucky’s unemployment rate to a new historic low of 3.7%.”

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 7,100 jobs in April 2023 compared to March 2023. Kentucky’s nonfarm employment was up 56,000 jobs or 2.9% compared to April 2022.

“Kentucky also saw solid growth in payroll employment during April,” said Clark. “The gains were widespread across the major industrial sectors with construction being the only major sector to report fewer jobs for the month.”

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.