Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary September 2023 unemployment rate was 4.1%, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS).
The preliminary September 2023 jobless rate was up 0.1 percentage point from August 2023 and was up 0.1 percentage point from one year ago.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for September 2023 was 3.8%, which was unchanged from August 2023, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
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 2,044,997 in September 2023, a decrease of 4,028 individuals from August 2023. The number of people employed in September fell by 6,823 to 1,960,201 while the number unemployed increased by 2,795 to 84,796.
“Kentucky saw both the number of people employed and in the labor force decline in recent months,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “It appears that many of the workers who have separated from their employers are searching for work, which pushed Kentucky’s unemployment rate up in September. Even with the recent increases, Kentucky’s unemployment rate remains low.”
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 4,900 jobs to 2,030,500 in September 2023 compared to August 2023. Kentucky’s nonfarm employment was up 49,200 jobs or 2.5% compared to September 2022.
“Despite fewer people reporting that they were employed, businesses have continued to add workers to their payrolls,” said Clark. “Employer payrolls have increased each of the past five months and reached a new high in September.”
Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to the survey, employment increased for six of Kentucky’s major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors in September 2023, decreased for three, and was unchanged for two.
Employment in the trade, transportation and utilities sector jumped by 3,200 jobs from August to September and was up 7,700 jobs or 1.8% compared to a year ago. The wholesale trade subsector added 200 jobs in September; the retail subsector added 1,200 jobs; and the transportation, warehousing and utilities subsector added 1,800 jobs.
Kentucky’s professional and business services sector rose by 2,100 jobs or 0.9% in September 2023. Employment increased by 500 positions in the professional, scientific and technical services subsector. The management of companies subsector added 100 jobs, and the administrative, support and waste management subsector rose by 1,500 from August to September. The sector has increased by 3,700 jobs or 1.6% since September 2022.
The leisure and hospitality sector added 1,000 positions from August 2023 to September 2023, representing a gain of 0.5%. This sector reported 4,200 more jobs in September than one year ago. All of this growth occurred in the accommodations and food services subsector, which was up by 1,000 jobs in September. Employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation subsector was unchanged from August to September.
Construction employment rose by 400 jobs or 0.4% from August to September 2023 and was up 7,400 positions or 8.8% from one year ago.
The educational and health services sector increased by 300 positions in September 2023. Employment in the health care and social assistance subsector added 1,300 jobs in September while the educational services subsector fell by 1,000 jobs. Since last September, this sector has grown by 13,400 jobs or 4.6%.
Employment in Kentucky’s information services sector gained 200 jobs from August to September. The industries in this sector include traditional publishing as well as software publishing; motion pictures and broadcasting; and telecommunications. The number of jobs in this sector grew by 500 or 2.3% from one year ago.
The number of jobs in the state’s mining and logging sector did not change from August to September. This sector had 400 more jobs compared to September 2022.
Employment in the other services sector was unchanged from August to September. This sector had 2,200 more positions in September 2023 compared to September 2022. This sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.
Kentucky’s financial activities sector fell by 100 jobs in September 2023. Employment was down 500 jobs in the finance and insurance subsector from August to September but was up 400 jobs in the real estate, rental and leasing subsector. The sector decreased by 3,800 positions compared to last September.
Employment in the government sector fell by 800 from August 2023 to September 2023. Jobs increased by 100 in federal government; decreased by 300 in state government; and decreased by 600 in local government. The total number of government jobs rose by 6,600 positions or 2.2% compared to September 2022.
Kentucky’s manufacturing sector declined by 1,400 jobs from August 2023 to September 2023. Employment fell by 1,000 jobs in durable goods manufacturing and by 400 jobs in non-durable goods manufacturing. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment was up 6,900 positions or 2.7% since September 2022.
“While Kentucky’s manufacturing employment declined in September, the decrease might simply reflect regular month-to-month variations in the estimates,” said Clark. “Nationally, manufacturing employment and automobile manufacturing, a sector that has a large presence in Kentucky, was up in September.”
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.
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.
To learn more about Kentucky labor market information, visit kystats.ky.gov.
Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet