Kentucky jobless rate remains steady at 3.8%

Published 9:30 am Friday, August 18, 2023

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary July 2023 unemployment rate was 3.8%, according to data released Thursday by the Kentucky Center for Statistics, an agency within the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet.

This means the preliminary July 2023 jobless rate was unchanged from June, however that was 0.1% lower than July 2022.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for July 2023 was 3.5%, which was down 0.1% from the previous month, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,052,595 in July 2023, a drop of 1,990 people from June 2023.  The number of individuals employed in July fell by 3,535 to 1,973,616 while the number unemployed increased by 1,545 to 78,979.

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 decreased by 400 jobs to 2,013,500 in July 2023 compared to June 2023.  Kentucky’s nonfarm employment was up 50,200 jobs or 2.6% compared to July 2022.

The University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research Director Mike Clark noted the 3.8% is just below the state’s record low of 3.7% set in April.

“While Kentucky’s job market remains strong, the latest estimates suggest the market might have cooled a bit in July,” he said.  “Fewer people reported being in the labor force and employed and more reported being unemployed.  Total nonfarm employment also fell slightly in July, suggesting that many employers are maintaining their employment levels but are not adding workers at the same pace as over the past year.”

Looking at employment sectors that saw growth between June and July, the educational and health services sector jumped by 4,200 positions, the manufacturing sector 2,800, leisure and hospitality 1,400, construction  positions, construction employment 500, and “other” saw an additional 300 jobs.

Job sectors seeing losses during that time included trade, transportation and utilities sector falling by 400, financial activities lost 900 jobs, professional and business services sector dropped by 1,800, and the government sector saw the biggest numerical loss at 6,500.

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.