Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet Releases April 2023 Unemployment Report

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 18, 2023) — Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary April 2023 unemployment rate was 3.7%, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet (KELC).

The preliminary April 2023 jobless rate was down 0.1 percentage points from March 2023 and was down 0.1 percentage points from the 3.8% recorded for the state one year ago.

The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate for April 2023 was 3.4%, which was down 0.1 percentage points from March 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 2,046,426 in April 2023, an increase of 4,277 individuals from March 2023. The number of people employed in April rose by 5,086 to 1,970,127 while the number of unemployed decreased by 809 to 76,299.

“April saw strong gains in Kentucky’s labor force,” said University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Director Mike Clark, Ph.D. “With employers continuing to expand their payrolls, workers are finding jobs at a faster pace than they are returning to the labor force. This has helped push Kentucky’s unemployment rate to a new historic low of 3.7%.”

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 7,100 jobs in April 2023 compared to March 2023. Kentucky’s nonfarm employment was up 56,000 jobs or 2.9% compared to April 2022.

“Kentucky also saw solid growth in payroll employment during April,” said Clark. “The gains were widespread across the major industrial sectors with construction being the only major sector to report fewer jobs for the month.”

Nonfarm data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Statistics program. According to the survey, employment increased for 10 of Kentucky’s major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors in April 2023 and decreased for one.

Kentucky’s leisure and hospitality sector added 2,200 positions from March 2023 to April 2023, a gain of 1.1%. This sector jumped by 12,000 jobs or 6.3% from April 2022. Employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation subsector increased by 400 jobs from March to April. The accommodations and food services subsector had 1,800 more jobs in April than March.

The educational and health services sector gained 1,400 positions in April 2023. Employment in the health care and social assistance subsector added 1,000 jobs in April while the educational services subsector rose by 400 jobs. Since last April, this sector has grown by 12,000 jobs or 4.2%.

Employment in Kentucky’s manufacturing sector rose by 1,400 jobs from March 2023 to April 2023. Durable goods manufacturing employment was up 700 jobs in April. Non-durable goods manufacturers also added 700 jobs. Kentucky’s manufacturing employment was up 8,300 positions or 3.3% since April 2022.

Kentucky’s professional and business services sector expanded by 1,200 jobs or 0.5% in April 2023. Employment decreased by 300 jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services subsector; remained the same in the management of companies subsector; and increased by 1,500 jobs in the administrative, support and waste management subsector. The sector has increased by 1,900 jobs or 0.8% since April 2022.

The government sector grew by 1,000 jobs from March 2023 to April 2023. While employment was unchanged in the federal government, the state government and local government sectors each added 500 jobs. Employment in the total government sector rose by 6,200 positions or 2.1% compared to April 2022.

Kentucky’s trade, transportation and utilities sector increased by 700 jobs from March to April, and was up 10,200 jobs or 2.4% compared to a year ago. The wholesale trade sector lost 600 positions. The retail trade subsector added 300 jobs and the transportation, warehousing and utilities subsector added 1,000 jobs in April.

The financial activities sector gained 300 jobs from March 2023 to April 2023. Employment was up by 200 jobs in the finance and insurance subsector from March to April and by 100 jobs in the real estate, rental and leasing subsector. The sector decreased by 1,900 positions compared to last April.

“While employment in financial activities improved from March to April, employment in this sector has been declining since early 2022,” said Clark.

The other services sector added 200 jobs in April 2023, and had 2,300 more positions compared to April 2022. This sector includes repairs and maintenance, personal care services and religious organizations.

Employment in the information services sector increased by 200 jobs in April. 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 1,200 or 5.7% from one year ago.

Kentucky’s mining and logging sector was up 100 positions in April. This sector had 600 more jobs compared to April 2022.

Construction employment fell by 1,600 jobs in April 2023 or 1.8% from March, but was up 3,200 positions or 3.9% from one year ago.

“While construction employment fell in April, this was following particularly strong employment numbers for March,” said Clark. “While higher interest rates might be slowing growth in construction employment, this sector has generally improved in recent months.”

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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