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Kentucky’s jobless rate rises to 11 percent in July
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 20, 2009) — Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for July 2009 hit the 11 percent mark, the highest since August 1983 when the rate was 11.1 percent, from a revised 10.9 percent in June 2009, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. July 2009’s jobless rate is 4.5 percentage points higher than the 6.5 percent rate recorded in July 2008.
The increase in Kentucky’s nonfarm employment in July 2009 is indicative of employees at a major manufacturer returning to work after a layoff, and does not reflect the creation of any new jobs. However, the pace of layoffs and the economic downturn are moderating,” said Dr. Justine Detzel, OET chief labor market analyst.
The U.S. seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell from 9.5 percent in June 2009 to 9.4 percent in July 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This 9.4 percent rate is 1.6 percentage points below the 11 percent rate recorded in Kentucky in July 2009.
Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working.
Three of the 11 major nonfarm North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) job sectors reported an employment increase in July 2009, while seven decreased and one stayed the same, according to OET. An increase of 600 jobs in July 2009 brought Kentucky’s nonfarm employment to a seasonally adjusted total of 1,775,000. Since July 2008, Kentucky’s nonfarm employment has plummeted by 83,500.
“This marks the 17th month in a row of year-over-year employment decreases and the second largest year-over-year drop on records dating back to January 1990,” Detzel said. “Since the start of the recession in December 2007, nonfarm employment in Kentucky has dropped by 97,400 positions.”
According to the seasonally adjusted employment data, manufacturing gained 3,300 jobs in July 2009. Compared to July 2008, jobs in the sector plummeted by 34,300.
            “This is the first time in 14 months manufacturing employment has risen. The durable goods subsector accounted for the lion’s share of these job gains. This employment increase reflects employees at a major manufacturer returning to work after a layoff, expansions at two different manufacturers, and the opening of an automotive parts producer. The non-durable goods subsector also experienced an increase in employment, which is indicative of the reopening of a refinery, workers called back at a greeting card manufacturer, and expansions at two non-durable goods producers,” said Detzel.
“The durable goods subsector accounted for the majority of the year-over-year loss of 34,300 manufacturing jobs. This reflects the continued malaise resulting from the automobile slump impacting Kentucky.”
The educational and health services sector increased by 2,400 jobs in July 2009. Since last July, the number of jobs in this sector has risen by 3,200. This sector includes private and nonprofit establishments that provide either education and training or health care and social assistance to their clients.
“Year-over-year employment gains are predominant in the educational services industry. However, health care and social assistance businesses also exhibited job growth from July 2008 to July 2009. Educational and health services tend to be more recession proof than other industries. Institutions of higher learning often see an uptick in enrollment during recessions, as individuals return to school or choose to continue their education,” Detzel said.
The state’s other services sector, which includes such establishments as repair and maintenance businesses, personal and laundry services, religious organizations and civic and professional organizations, rose by 1,400 positions in July 2009. This sector had 200 more jobs in July 2009 than in July 2008.
The information sector recorded the same number of jobs in July 2009 as June 2009. This segment, which includes firms involved in publishing, Internet activities, data processing, broadcasting and news syndication, has 600 fewer positions than in July 2008.
The construction sector recorded 1,500 fewer positions in July 2009. Since July 2008, employment in the construction sector has fallen by 17,600 positions.
“Over the last year, the number of construction jobs has dropped by nearly 21 percent, so Kentucky has lost roughly one in five construction jobs since July 2008. The maladies in the housing market, tighter credit delaying construction projects and cutbacks in both commercial and residential construction factored into the job losses in this industry,” Detzel said.
The number of jobs in the professional and business services sector declined by 1,300 positions in July 2009. This area has lost 13,300 employees since June 2008. The professional and business services sector includes professional, scientific and technical services, management of companies and administrative and support and waste management, including temporary help agencies.
The financial activities sector lost 1,300 positions in July 2009. This segment, which includes businesses involved in finance, insurance, real estate and property leasing or rental, has dropped 3,900 positions over the past 12 months.
Kentucky’s trade, transportation and utilities sector recorded 1,000 fewer jobs in July 2009. This area includes retail and wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing businesses and utilities. It is the largest sector in Kentucky with 366,700 employees. Since July 2008, the number of jobs in this sector has shrunk by 16,500.
Year-over-year job losses are predominantly in transportation, warehousing and utilities businesses. However, wholesale trade establishments and retail trade enterprises have also endured significant employment declines since July 2008. As households tightened their belts, retailers suffered declining sales, enacted layoffs, and closed underperforming stores. Likewise, wholesalers suffered layoffs as weak demand for products trickled back through the supply chain,” Detzel said.
The government sector, which includes public education, public administration agencies and state-owned hospitals, decreased by 800 positions in July 2009. The sector has 2,100 fewer jobs compared to July 2008.
The state’s leisure and hospitality sector reported an employment drop of 500 jobs in July 2009. Since July 2008, employment in the sector has declined by 100 professionals. The leisure and hospitality sector includes arts, entertainment and recreation, accommodations and food services and drinking places industries.
The mining and logging sector lost 100 jobs from June 2009 to July 2009. The sector has added 1,500 workers since July 2008 because of hiring in the coal mining industry.
“July 2009’s job losses in this sector are indicative of a coal mine idling and layoffs at two other coal mines. This is the second consecutive month of employment declines, reflecting a pullback in the coal mining industry. As factories cut industrial output and plants shut down, there is decreased demand for electricity produced by coal. Cooler weather in July compounded the drop in demand for coal used to generate electricity,” Detzel said.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly estimate of the number of employed Kentuckians for July 2009 was 1,840,992 on a seasonally adjusted basis. This figure is down 10,101 from the 1,851,093 employed in June 2009, and down 70,145 from the 1,911,137 employed in July 2008.
The monthly estimate of the number of unemployed Kentuckians for July 2009 was 227,431, up 922 from the 226,509 Kentuckians unemployed in June 2009, and up 94,541 from the 132,890 unemployed in July 2008.
The monthly estimate of the number of Kentuckians in the civilian labor force for July 2009 was 2,068,423. This figure is down 9,179 from the 2,077,602 recorded in June 2009, but up 24,396 from the 2,044,027 recorded for July 2008. 
Civilian labor force statistics include non-military 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

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