Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Releases January 2022 Unemployment Report

Editor’s Note: Preliminary January and revised December labor market information are included in this release.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March. 10, 2022) —Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary January 2022 unemployment rate was 4.4%, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC).

The preliminary January 2022 jobless rate was down 0.2 percentage points from the 4.6% reported in December 2021 and down 0.4 percentage points from the 4.8% recorded for the state one year ago.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for January 2022 was 4%, up from the 3.9% reported in December 2021, 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 2,053,986 in January 2022, an increase of 2,735 individuals from December 2021. The number of people employed in January increased by 5,809 to 1,963,339 while the number of unemployed decreased by 3,074 to 90,647.

“January’s employment numbers—along with revised estimates for 2021—show that Kentucky’s workers have been steadily returning to the labor force over the past year,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “Improved distribution of the Coronavirus vaccines, the reopening of schools, and higher wages paid by employers have likely contributed to many workers reentering the labor market. The falling unemployment rate suggests that many of these returning workers are finding jobs quickly.”

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 6,200 jobs in January 2022 compared to December 2021. Kentucky’s nonfarm employment was up 49,200 jobs or 2.6% compared to January 2021.

Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to the survey, employment increased for seven of Kentucky’s 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors in January 2022 while four declined.

Employment in the professional and business services sector increased by 4,600 jobs or 2.1% in January 2022. Employment fell by 500 jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services subsector and by 200 jobs in the management of companies subsector. The administrative and support and waste management subsector gained 5,300 jobs. Employment in this sector was up 7,500 or 3.5% since January 2021.

“After stalling for much of 2021, employment in the professional and business services jumped in January, adding 4,600 jobs,” said Clark. 

The trade, transportation and utilities sector grew by 1,500 positions from December 2021 to January 2022. Retail trade employment was up 1,000 jobs in January. Wholesale trade lost 100 positions. Transportation, warehousing and utilities added 600 jobs. Since January 2021, employment in this sector has increased by 11,800 jobs or 2.9%.

Kentucky’s educational and health services sector gained 1,400 jobs in January 2022. The educational services subsector added 800 positions from December to January while the health care and social assistance subsector gained 600 positions. Since last January, this sector has increased by 3,100 jobs or 1.1%.

Employment in Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector increased by 1,100 positions from December 2021 to January 2022, a gain of 0.6%. This sector was up 21,900 jobs or 12.6% compared to January 2021. The arts, entertainment and recreation subsector added 800 positions and the accommodations and food services subsector added 300 jobs in January.

The information services sector gained 300 jobs from December to January. 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 was up by 800 or 3.9% from one year ago.

The number of jobs in Kentucky’s mining and logging sector grew by 100 from December 2021 to January 2022. This sector was unchanged compared to one year ago.

Employment in the other services sector increased by 100 jobs in January 2022 and was up 800 positions since January 2021. The other services sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services, and religious organizations.

Employment in the financial activities sector declined by 300 positions in January 2022. All of the employment losses were in the finance and insurance subsector, which lost 300 jobs from December 2021 to January 2022. The real estate, rental, and leasing subsector was unchanged from December to January. Employment in the financial activities sector was unchanged compared to last January.

Construction employment fell by 500 jobs in January 2022, or 0.6% from December. The construction sector was up 300 positions or 0.4% from one year ago.

The government sector employment was down by 800 jobs from December 2021 to January 2022. This represents a decrease of 0.3% from December 2021. Federal government employment increased by 100 jobs. Employment was down by 1,800 jobs in state government and up by 900 jobs in local government. Total government employment was up 4,800 positions or 1.6% compared to January 2021.

Kentucky’s manufacturers’ payrolls were down 1,300 positions from December 2021 to January 2022. This represents a loss of 0.5%. The durable goods subsector decreased by 1,700 or 1.1% from December to January. Employment in non-durable goods rose by 400 positions from December to January. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment was down 1,800 positions or 0.7% since January 2021.

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.

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