Kentucky unemployment remains unchanged in August

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary August unemployment rate was 5.4 percent, according to the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics (KCEWS), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The unemployment rate for August 2017 was unchanged from the revised 5.4 percent reported for July 2017.

The preliminary August 2017 jobless rate was up 0.4 percentage points from the 5.0 percent rate recorded for the state in August 2016.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for August 2017 was 4.4 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The U.S. unemployment rate for August was up 0.1 percentage points from the 4.3 percent reported for July 2017.

Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based on estimates from the Current Population Survey of households. It is designed to measure trends rather than to count the actual number of people working. It includes jobs in agriculture and those classified as self-employed.

Kentucky Unemployment Rate


In August 2017, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,059,885, a decrease of 7,294 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment was down by 8,552 while the number of unemployed increased by 1,258.

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.

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 8,300 jobs in August 2017 compared to July 2017. Kentucky has added 30,500 jobs since August 2016, a 1.6 percent employment growth.

“Kentucky’s unemployment rate is holding at relatively low levels and nonfarm payrolls continue to show good growth. The increase of 8,300 jobs in August was the largest increase shown so far this year. On average Kentucky has added approximately 2,000 jobs per month so far this year,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Chris Bollinger, Ph.D.

Kentucky Employment (Seasonally Adjusted)


Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to this survey, seven of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors experienced employment growth from the previous month. Three sectors declined from the previous month and one was unchanged.

Kentucky’s professional and business services sector showed the largest employment gains, adding 3,400 jobs from July 2017 to August 2017. This represents an increase of 1.5 percent from July 2017. Within this sector, professional, scientific and technical services subsector increased by 1,200 jobs and the administrative, support and waste management subsector increased by 2,000 jobs.

The education and health services sector also added 3,400 jobs in August. Education services decreased slightly by 100 jobs in August. Health care and social assistance added 3,500 jobs. This represents an increase of 1.4 percent from July 2017 and an increase of 2.1 percent since August 2016.

Construction added 2,400 jobs from July 2017 to August 2017. Since August 2016, construction employment has grown by 6,300 jobs.

“Kentucky’s construction labor market has shown strong growth this year, increasing by 8.3 percent from a year ago,” Bollinger said. “Construction has also increased nationally but by only 3.2 percent from a year ago.”

Kentucky’s manufacturing industry added 1,100 jobs from July 2017 to August 2017. This represents an increase of 0.4 percent for the month. Jobs in durable goods manufacturing increased by 1,400, or 0.9 percent, this month. Jobs in non-durable goods manufacturing decreased by 300.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector added 500 jobs from July 2017 to August 2017. This represents an increase of 0.1 percent since July 2017 and 1.5 percent since August 2016.

The financial activities sector gained 500 jobs in August 2017. Since August 2016, this sector has gained 2,300 jobs or 2.5 percent.

Other services sector gained 100 jobs in August 2017. This sector is up 2,200 jobs since August 2016. Other services includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

The government sector did not change from July 2017 to August 2017. State government employment increased by 500 jobs in August 2017. Federal employment decreased by 100 jobs and local employment decreased by 400 jobs in August 2017.

Employment in the mining and logging sector declined by 100 in August 2017. This sector has declined by 400 positions, or 4 percent, since August last year.

The information services sector decreased by 500 jobs from July 2017 to August 2017. This sector has grown by 4.4 percent since August 2016, adding 1,000 positions. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications.

Leisure and hospitality decreased by 2,500 jobs in August 2017. Within this sector, accommodation and food services lost 2,300 jobs and arts, entertainment and recreation decreased by 200 jobs.

“While the number of jobs in leisure and hospitality decreased last month, this sector has generally increased since the beginning of the year,” Bollinger said.

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, because of the small sample size, county unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

Learn more about the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics at