Kentucky unemployment rate falls to 4.2%

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 20, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Despite the so-called “Great Resignation,” Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary October 2021 unemployment rate dipped to 4.2%, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics, part of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

That was down 0.1 percentage points from the 4.3% reported in September 2021 and down 1.3 percentage points from the 5.5% recorded for the state one year ago.

Kentucky remained below the U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for October 2021, which was 4.6%, down from the 4.8% reported in September 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 1,991,931 last month, an increase of 4,800 from September.  The number of people employed in October increased by 4,937 to 1,907,351 while the number of unemployed decreased by 137 to 84,580.

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“While Kentucky’s labor force contracted from March through June, it has shown signs of growth over the past four months,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research Director Mike Clark.  “Kentucky’s labor force grew during each of the last four months, adding 11,885 workers.  While these are not necessarily large increases and there is still a lot of volatility in the labor market, these increases may suggest workers are starting to slowly return to the labor force.”

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 rose by 3,100 jobs in October compared to the previous month, and up 1.5% compared to October 2020.

“Kentucky extended its jobs recovery in October,” Clark said. “Kentucky posted strong growth in its trade, transportation, and utilities sectors. However, these gains were offset by losses in arts, entertainment, and recreation businesses and other sectors.”

The Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector was the biggest winner with 2,500 new hires, while the Leisure and Hospitality fell by 1,500.

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.