Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Business

March 7, 2013

1:15 AFTERNOON UPDATE: State's jobless rate below 8 percent

FRANKFORT — For the first time in more than four years, Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent to 7.9 percent in January 2013, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The revised December 2012 state rate was 8 percent.

 

Kentucky’s unemployment rate has not been below 8 percent since November 2008 when it was 7.8 percent.

 

The preliminary January 2013 jobless rate was .6 percentage points below the 8.5 percent rate recorded for the state in January 2012.

 

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate increased to 7.9 percent in January 2013 from 7.8 percent in December 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

 

“With the exception of a few blips, the unemployment rate has been improving quite steadily over the last year,” said economist Manoj Shanker of the OET. “The improvement in the labor market has been steady, though painfully slow. Mixed signals from the federal government and uncertainty in the foreign market have slowed the hiring process in Kentucky.”

 

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.

 

In January 2013, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,085,509, a decrease of 820 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment also fell with 53 fewer jobs, while the number of unemployed people dropped by 767.

 

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 in January 2013 from the previous month. On an over-the-year basis, the state’s nonfarm employment has grown by 1 percent with the addition of 18,300 jobs.

 

“Kentucky has now recovered 85,700 or about 71 percent of the 120,000 nonfarm jobs lost during the employment downturn period between January 2008 and February 2010,” said Shanker.

 

Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to this survey, four of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors registered gains in employment, while five declined and two remained the same.

The government sector, which includes public education, public administration agencies and state-owned hospitals, increased by 3,100 jobs in January 2013. The sector had 400 fewer jobs compared to January 2012.

 

“Almost all the gains in local and state government were in education employment.  After undergoing years of budget cuts, some of the jobs in schools and colleges are coming back,” said Shanker.

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