(The Center Square) – Unemployment in Kentucky continued its slow climb in October, according to data released Thursday by the Kentucky Center for Statistics. However, some jobs data showed good news for the state’s economy.
The 4.2% monthly rate reported by the department within the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet was up one-tenth of a percentage point from September. It was up two-tenths from October of last year.
Kentucky’s rate also remains higher than the nation’s 3.9% rate.
The unemployment rate is created through estimates from a survey of households. It does include people who are self-employed or working in agriculture.
While the state’s labor force remained at more than 2 million, the October report showed a drop of more than 4,500 people. In addition, the number of people unemployed rose by 700 to 85,525.
University of Kentucky Center for Business and Economic Research Director Dr. Mike Clark said in a statement that while the state’s unemployment rate remains relatively low, he noted that the number of people working has dropped in each of the last four months.
“While many of these formerly employed workers are searching for a new job, the majority appear to have left the labor market,” he added. “The number of people exiting the labor force was equal to 63% of the decrease in employment over the past four months.”
The cabinet also reported results from a survey of businesses that showed Kentucky’s nonfarm employment rose by 2.6%, or 52,200 jobs, since October 2022. For the past month, the number of jobs increased by 1,500, but more sectors saw their number of positions drop than increase.
Of the seven that reported fewer jobs, the largest month-to-month loss came in Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector, which had 1,600 fewer than in September. The number of people working in financial services fell by 700.
Kentucky’s construction firms reported the biggest gains out of the four reporting increases last month. Jobs in that sector grew by 2,400, or 2.6%, from September.
“Estimates suggest that Kentucky’s construction sector has experienced a significant surge in employment over the past year,” Clark said. “While national construction employment grew by only 2.8% over the past year, Kentucky’s construction employment has grown by 14.9%.”